After reading the Economist’s rather harsh review of Binyavanga’s new book I decided to order it on Amazon. I was not disappointed (although I must admit that the Economist was right as far as editing goes. They could have done better).
The book is vintage Binyavanga, a fast paced read with insertions of commentary hear and there. The political commentary could have been done better – but that might just be the Political Scientist in me wanting more. I also felt like Binyavanga could have done more telling of the struggles of a young writer. How many manuscripts got rejected? How exactly did he discover his calling to become a writer? (he talks a bit about how he loved reading and hated other subjects in school but it would have been nice to know how as an adult this happened).
The book is great in many respects, but for me what did it was the combination of witty political commentary and a narration of a struggle against family expectations and personal failures.
I highly recommend it.