Author Roy Heath continues the adventures of his Guyanan hero, Kwaku (first introduced in Kwaku, or the Man Who Couldn't Keep His Mouth Shut
) in his latest book, The Ministry of Hope
. As this new volume in the picaresque adventures of Kwaku opens, our hero has fallen from grace: his wife is blind, his twin sons have beaten him up, and his reputation as a healer is under fire when some of his clientele inconveniently die. But Kwaku Cholmondeley is not a quitter. Soon he devises a new plan: he will travel to Georgetown and set himself up as a purveyor of antique chamber pots--an item, he is assured, the tourists will go mad for. The chamber pots prove to be only the McGuffin that will get Kwaku to Georgetown; once there, he manages a meeting with the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Hope and soon finds himself working for the man.
It isn't long before Kwaku realizes that the secretary's reputation as an honest man is vastly overrated. The man steals Kwaku's ideas, sends him on nefarious errands and involves him with all kinds of insidious characters. The moral code under which Kwaku operated in the country doesn't apply in the city, and he faces the age-old dilemma of the city-bound migrant. How Kwaku not only survives his corrupt surroundings but actually transcends them is at the heart of Heath's comic, touching, and aptly named novel.
From Publishers Weekly
With a fine ear for comic dialogue and an eye for the ironies of clashing personalities, Heath (The Murderer), who was born in Guyana and emigrated to England, follows the fortunes of the trickster hero of Kwaku, or The Man Who Couldn't Keep His Mouth Shut. Reduced to destitution after losing his status as village faith healer, Kwaku Cholmondeley starts over in Guyana's capital city of Georgetown under the double-edged patronage of an enterprising civil servant nicknamed the Right Hand man at the Ministry of Hope. The Right Hand man has a specious reputation for honesty and a talent for gathering toadies, including a onetime firebug who's now a currency smuggler. After numerous embarrassments suffered in adjusting to city ways. Kwaku escapes from the ranks of the hangers-on, returning to the healing racket with a talking cure. Unfortunately, he finds his material success still caught up in the fortunes of the Right Hand man. With a superb supporting motley crew, Heath freely orchestrates a vibrant, idiomatic chorus of comic exchanges, gossip and boasts. Whether talking about the thriving business of selling antique chamber pots to tourists or the rumored lootings of graveyards, whose residents were employed in the last fraudulent election that brought the Right Hand man's party to power, the voluble cast chatters about everything under the sun. Heath ably steers his charming ship of fools and knaves through a sea of picaresque corruption to a generous-hearted conclusion.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.