BookBrowse Reviews A Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Nicholas Drayson

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A Guide to the Birds of East Africa

A Novel

by Nicholas Drayson

A Guide to the Birds of East Africa
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2008, 208 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2009, 192 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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A beguiling story that does for Kenya and its birds what Alexander McCall Smith's Ladies' Detective Agency series does for Botswana

Nicholas Drayson's latest book, A Guide to the Birds of East Africa is a rather unlikely novel. First, by its title, the initial impression is that it's a birding guide, not a work of fiction. The characters in it are almost all over the age of 60, not a popular choice in today's youth-centered culture. Its protagonist, Mr. Malik, is "a brown man, sixty-one years old, short, round and balding" with a bad comb-over, again, not your typical romantic hero. And yet, all these literary quirks combine to form a completely delightful novel.

Although the book's plot takes place in the present, it reads very much like a British period piece. The reader is reminded of Victorian-era works like Around the World in Eighty Days. The attitudes expressed by the main characters may strike readers as somewhat old-fashioned; Mr. Malik, in particular, has a highly ...

About the Author
Nicholas Drayson has written extensively about wildlife and natural history. He is also the author of Confessing a Murder, which was hailed by Booklist for its "view of Darwin never before seen." An Englishman by birth, Drayson lived in Nairobi for two years. He now lives in Australia, where he received a Ph.D. from the University of New South Wales.

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