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Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik: One Woman's Solo Misadventures Across Africa Paperback – September 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580051642
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580051644
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,320,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

I look forward to more books by this author.
Colinda
When writing about Africa - a travel genre of its own these days - some approaches seem to be more popular than others.
F. Dane
A total disappointment...this book has been written a thousand times before.
Kelly Crummey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By F. Dane on September 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
When writing about Africa - a travel genre of its own these days - some approaches seem to be more popular than others. There is the lone adventurer routine - preferably with the hero in a 4WD or on a motorcycle, as in "Running with the Moon" by Johnny Bealby - where the author invariably finds himself stranded in the heart of darkness and somehow lives to tell. And there's the high-brow, intellectual approach - perhaps most famously executed by Paul Theroux in "Dark Star Safari" - whose literary prowess is matched only by his equally limitless gift for misanthropy and self-pity.

And then there's Marie Javins - a bona fide globetrotter whose obsession with overland travel made her zigzag the African continent in 2001 as part of a world tour, and as if that wasn't enough, then came back for more last year. Author of several tent camping guides and thus no stranger to roughing it a bit, Ms Javins succeeds in straddling both approaches and with "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik" comes out as something of a thinking man's - or should that be woman's - heroine. Much like Theroux did, the author wants to show us that there is more to Africa than war and misery, and contrary to him she actually succeeds in doing so. With the narrative set against an engaging and at times heartbreaking story of a more personal nature, the author takes the reader on a thoroughly enjoyable journey into the labyrinth of people, animals and past that is Africa.

Greatly appreciated and warmly recommended.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By John J. Noack on September 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
Imagine the pleasure of opening your mailbox to find a whole stack of sequential letters from a friend traveling abroad: it would be impossible not to sit down and read them all at once. Marie Javins' writing is exactly like that. Possessing both talent and wit in abundance, Marie is the traveler most of us would like to be: fearless, easygoing, observant, and culturally wide-awake. Her writing is filled with easy, knowing humor, without the pretense of cleverness for cleverness' sake. Marie is at her best in this book portraying the boredom, fatigue, and frustration of travel in hot, dusty, crowded, and cramped trains, buses, and trucks as she makes her way across the African continent from Namibia to Egypt. Marie invites us to an Africa that is far from our popular imagination, yet even more intriguing - it should be mandatory reading for anyone considering travel there. Immersed, you feel like a familiar friend and travel companion as Marie shares her intimate thoughts and observations, and asks all the right questions about the people, diverse cultures, and animals she encounters. Her adventures and near-death experiences make for a thrilling read, and put to rest any fears that the great continent has been tamed.

Anyone who enjoys travel will enjoy this book - highly recommended.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Tim Leffel on February 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
The beauty of reading an account of a long overland journey is that you can live the experience through someone else, still enjoying your hot shower, comfy bed, and well-stocked pantry at home. Javins' book is one of those conversational, easy-reading tales that doesn't try to dazzle you with its erudite suppositions or try to make grand expositions on the nature of what's wrong with Africa. Instead there are just musings on impossible questions, such as "Should I be accepting personal responsibility for slavery, the price of coffee, and colonialism?"

The book mostly just goes for a long journey and takes you along for the ride: from Cape Town to Cairo via a meandering route up the east after heading through Botswana and Namibia. She admits that the first time she went to the continent it was just something to cross off a list: "Wash clothes. Buy toilet tissue. See Africa."

Javins' goal was to do it all without getting on a plane, as part of a round-the-world tour on the ground and water only. In the end she has to hop a flight from Sudan to Egypt to catch a freighter when, as expected, the schedule doesn't quite move as planned. The mishaps here are natural ones though, things that any traveler will encounter on the continent, with no scenes that make us feel as if the author was intentionally seeking out bad situations just to enliven the story. Of course the natural hurdles in Africa can be bad enough on their own. In this case it's a Namibian taxi driver who keeps nodding off at the wheel, a bus wreck in Ethiopia, and and enough scamster touts to fill a small city.

Despite the luxury camps and expensive safari trips Africa is known for, it is still a wild frontier for anyone trying to cross it by land and this book is a great way to figure out if you're up for it yourself. If you're not, you can ride along then go take a hot shower at home.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Colinda VINE VOICE on November 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating travelog but it is also something more. It is an account of being on your own, experiencing loneliness and longing, but at the same time relishing the freedom to travel and explore the world in your own way.

I first followed Marie's journey "live" through her MariesWorldTour website in 2001, but I still found the book fresh and interesting. She often chose transport that was not the usual for tourists, such as long bus rides, and thus she met local people on their own turf where pretenses were dropped. There were risks involved, but she met them with courage, a sense of adventure, and a sense of humor.

I look forward to more books by this author.
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More About the Author

Marie is a writer, comic book creator, traveler, and blogger who alternates between roaming the planet by public bus, overseeing the output of a Kuwait-based superhero comic book company as editor in chief, and writing books entirely unrelated to her day job. In 2001, she circumnavigated the world by surface transport live on MariesWorldTour.com. In 2011, she did it again, but in reverse, this time allowing herself the use of airplanes.

Javins has written four books, coauthored two more, and updated a sixth. She has also contributed to several anthologies and travel websites. Her Wander Woman blog appears on Sundays on the UK's Wanderlust magazine's website. http://www.wanderlust.co.uk/magazine/contributor/wander-woman

Known for her acclaimed work as an editor and colorist at Marvel Comics during the nineties, Javins has also edited for Scholastic, Radical, and colored Disney comic books for Gemstone Comics. She's been involved in several independent publishing ventures and teaches digital coloring at New York's School of Visual Arts. Javins is a partner in Botfriend, a graphic novel packaging partnership with writer/editor Stuart Moore.

Originally from Northern Virginia, Javins considers herself a New Yorker but has lived in Australia, Barcelona, Uganda, Namibia, New Jersey, Kuwait, and Cairo since the last time she called Manhattan home. She can say "hello," "thank you," and "how much" in seven languages.

www.MarieJavins.com