I picked up this book purely based on the great title, and only later noticed that it had been shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers 2008.
The book is set on a remote farm in Rhodesia, and is narrated by Nyree, an eight-year-old girl. Nyree and her younger sister, Cia, are left to roam inside the farm’s large fences, and together they discover the sights and sounds of Africa. The girls know little about the world on the other side of the fence until their orphaned cousin, Ronin, arrives and their world is changed forever.
The book is simply written and is very short, so I read it in one evening. It flows along quickly, but the lack of depth, or perhaps the fact that my own childhood was so different to theirs, meant I didn’t fully engage with the story. The book is clearly well researched, but I felt like I was being fed one African cliche after another, which is a shame as the author clearly knew Rhodesia well.
The ending was so sad, but seemed pointless. I don’t know why the book needed such a tragic ending and felt as though I was being depressed just for the sake of it.
Great title, but I’m afraid it wasn’t for me.
This has to be one of my favourite book titles.
Have you spotted a really good title?
Did it persuade you to read the book?