June 8, 2010

Blood River, by Tim Butcher

I created this draft on May 31, but never got around to actually writing anything until today.

This book is a true story of a journalist's voyage through the Congo, following the same trail the explorer Stanley took (he of "Dr. Livingstone, I presume" fame.) It's quite a challenge for anyone at all to travel through the Congo, but for a white man to travel overland is quite a feat, and Butcher sounds like he had a completely awful time. It's somewhat amazing he wasn't killed.

I'm really interested in tales of the Congo, fictional and non. (I love The Poisonwood Bible but I guess I didn't blog about it when I reread it not too long ago.) I thought I would like this one, but despite the gripping subject matter of his adventure and the desperate state the country's in, it wasn't a terribly interesting read. It picked up after a bit, but I was never thrilled. In fact, I imagine that the way it drags feels similar to the way time dragged when the author sat in a pirogue on the Congo River for hours and hours in the still heat. It made me long for a far more exciting book I read years ago, which was also of a white man who rode a pirogue in Africa. Now what was that called?


Erin said...

This sounds very familiar to a book I read years ago: Facing the Congo: A Modern-Day Journey into the Heart of Darkness. Is it the one you are trying to remember?

Lydia said...

Yup! Do you still have it?

Erin said...

I don't know. I'll have a look before we come to Vancouver.