Top critical review
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on April 13, 2007
The introduction to My Life In the Bush of Ghosts, the first book in this two-for-one volume, makes you think that it's an anthropological work for class, not a story you're reading for fun. That's a shame, because these two stories are worth reading in their own right. But in comparison to the standard Western literary format, they are unquestionably different.
Most Western literature I read focuses on a cohesive narrative with a beginning, middle and end, a specific plot, and rich descriptions of characters, places, and emotions. That's not what happens here. Rather, the story unwinds in a very linear fashion, bit by bit, as the character passes through the ghost world he has stumbled into, seemingly at random. There is no surprise expressed by the protagonist when, for example, he meets a ghosts with televisions on her hands, or is transformed by a ghost into a monkey to go climb trees and pick nuts for the ghost to eat. These things are just stated as given, a part of the ongoing adventure. The passage of time is also a very fluid thing. A chapter, or several, can describe the events of a single hour and then a single sentence can describe the passing of a decade. It's a loose, free-flowing narrative built on the imagination of the author, and his ability to dream up ghosts wild, unexpected, and grotesque. It's an enjoyable ride but it takes some getting used to.