Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Good Man in Africa (1981)

William Boyd's first novel is truly excellent, enough to make an aspiring writer such as myself pretty sick. Also, it's abundantly clear that the young William Boyd's favorite book (or close to it) is my own favorite novel, Lucky Jim, by Kingsley Amis. There are sections and phrases that are very familiar to someone who has read Lucky Jim as many times as I have. A Good Man in Africa is a comic novel, its protagonist a low-level member of England's diplomatic corps in Western Africa. His name is Morgan Leafy and he's a corrupt, womanizing boozer who stumbles in and out of farcical situation. The plot builds, however, with genuine suspense and the atmosphere is palpable. William Boyd: My new favorite writer.

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