Review of Tribal Gathering “What a Wonderful Surprise!”

I have to confess I approached this book with some trepidation. A series of short stories about a fictional African country in the 1960s is hardly my bag, but I made the commitment to review the book and went into it with an open mind.

And what a wonderful surprise it was. I absolutely loved the book. The stories are set in the fictional country of Nibana in West Africa, but the situations and characters are very real. Each story has a clear beginning, middle and end, most of them ending with a grisly, almost Dahl-esque twist. Ryeland’s experiences of working in Africa in the Sixties certainly enriches the book with realistic touches, language and settings.

I wouldn’t recommend the book for those that are easily offended. It is hardly PC and creates the impression that many of Africa’s modern day problems are down to the end of Colonialisation and the corruption that self-government brought. Do not be mislead though, the book also highlights the attitudes of the white people who remained in Africa, making money from the indigenous people. Attitudes that occasionally led to un-rest.

My only criticism is sometimes Ryeland overuses back stories, which detracts from the story, and there are not enough women in the book, and for the most part (apart from the last story) are only on the periphery.

Minor criticisms though. This book held my interest and I would be happy to read anything else by this author.

***** (5 stars)

Karen Mason (I Heard it on the Grapevine)

Buy Tribal Gathering at Amazon.co.uk

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3 Responses to “Review of Tribal Gathering “What a Wonderful Surprise!””

  1. Hi. I like the blog. The look and feel is there but it could do with some images. That’s just my opinion. Espesially on some of the longer posts. Photos and other images could be found over at deviant art just ask permission first. They make longer posts seem less overwhelming. Good luck and enjoy your day!

  2. chistiangrblr : Many thanks for your comments, I will try to find some suitable pic and images as you suggest. It was very kind of you.

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