To the Moon and Timbuktu: A Trek Through the Heart of Africa Kindle Edition
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|Length: 325 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
To the Moon and Timbuktu is the story of a journey -- three journeys, in fact, because Nina keeps going back. She does reach Timbuktu, but more importantly, she reaches inside herself to find the person she really is. Her descriptions of the places and people of West Africa are well-crafted -- I felt like I knew some of the characters personally. She sees grinding poverty and describes living conditions that frankly made me shudder -- and admire her dogged determination. She uses various forms of transportation, some not all that safe, to get from one place to the other in the vast West African desert.
Frankly, I'm rather amazed that her husband didn't try harder to talk her out of her journeys, but he seems an unusually sensitive man who understands that his wife needs to do this -- not just to prove that she can, but for personal growth.
Throughout the book, she talks about two other women who ventured into Africa: 1800s explorer Mary Kingsley, and Isak Dineson, who wrote the famous memoir "Out of Africa." She feels a kinship with both women. She meets women in African villages who bring her into their circle of friendship, and she discovers, despite the obvious cultural differences, that women everywhere share common bonds.Read more ›
Sovich writes well. Her problem is that she wants to say too much. The first part of this book starts out with her in Africa, but then she goes back to her childhood in Connecticut, her unhappy Swedish mom, and then her life in Paris and how she met her husband Florent. Yes, she admits that she got her wanderlust from her mom, and her patient husband lets her travel to far-flung places on a shoestring budget.
When she focuses on the Africans and her travels her attention is at its best. She captures some good aspects of Muslim African women, and writes some compelling passages I really liked. Her many unaccompanied journeys have offered her many shocking stares from the natives, and this seems to prevent her from truly getting to know the places she travels to by herself. There's always a sense of dislocation no matter where she is, despite knowing that the places she is at are fascinating places if only she would open up to them all.
The second and third part of this book flows better, yet she remains the isolated foreign woman in a strange place. Her experiences are worth writing about and reading, but Sovich's inability to truly connect with the natives leaves this book as a disappointment.
Why I so enjoyed this book:
* Nina not only writes of her physical travels, but of her journey to personal growth. She masterfully interweaves the two. Her trip to Timbuktu is especially inspiring.
* The masterful descriptions of the places she visits were so realistic. I can just see the long horned cows drinking from the river, the brightly clad villagers walking to get water, etc.
* The people she meets are real characters. Nina really brings them to life. I picture Africa as a violent and unfriendly place. Nina's special friendships with the women she meets paint quite a different picture. The women are warm, welcoming and kind.
* It inspired me to learn more about Africa. I am looking forward to reading more about Mary Kingsley, an 1800's Gabon traveler, and Karen Blixen, a Kenyan farmer during World War I.
I would have loved to have seen a map showing Nina's travels. As part of my continuing education about Africa, I will look up the areas myself. It also would have been really interesting to see pictures. I understand Nina traveled light, so packing a camera was not in her plans.
I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about Africa. Even if you're not interested in Africa, this is an inspiring book about personal growth.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this book. Especially her description of encountering the heat of Bamako! Having lived in Mali, and experiencing that mind numbing heat, I appreciated her take on it.Published 3 months ago by Nenequillie
This is a personal journey. Wondering somewhere yet nowhere. A rambling of a lot of a person's own perception. Read morePublished 6 months ago by quilter2
I gave this three stars because I liked her writing, but this author needs some serious psychoanalysis. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Gwenn
The story of Nina's travels is vivid, written in a way that brings you right into her experiences. It reads like a novel rather than as a biography. Read morePublished 10 months ago by J. Gagne
A glorious adventure. She tells her story in such a way that you can live it with her and touch Timbuktu. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Crystal Bailey
Great travel story as seen through eyes of one woman and pregnant during one trip.
Readers are able to understand "normal " peoples of West Africa
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