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Book Group: Blood River - discussion thread

3 watchers
Jun 2015
4:03pm, 13 Jun 2015
16286 posts
  • 0
McGoohan
Here's your discussion thread for Tim Butcher's book Blood River

I'm not sure how you spoilerise a true story but it's still probably not a good idea to read ahead if you haven't read the actual book yet.
Jun 2015
9:57pm, 13 Jun 2015
1456 posts
  • 0
Longwayround (LWR)
Blimey. Another book which I read a long while ago. My mum bought it me for Christmas one year. That in itself is odd as I didn't think it would be the sort of book I would like. It was.
Jul 2015
4:46pm, 9 Jul 2015
7093 posts
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Columba
Can't have been a very long while ago, Longwayround?

I thought it was excellent. I am now much more au fait with the recent history of central Africa, as well as the geography of the Congo area, and all that entirely painlessly. It's very well written, the author doesn't seek (implicitly or explicitly) for admiration or applause, nor even for pity when he falls ill, and presents all the stark horror of the local Congolese living alongside the river, who have absolutely no redress and no defence against armed terrorists except to run and hide in the jungle until the terrorists have gone, taking with them anything of any value or use whatsoever. So the Congolese then have nothing, and have to start again from scratch. Most of them suffer from chronic malnutrition as a result of living mainly on cassava which doesn't have much nutritional value. No wild animals in the vicinity of the river, as they have all been eaten by the local people.

An update on the situation would be good.
Jul 2015
11:33am, 29 Jul 2015
5388 posts
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Little Nemo - this kitten can
I agree with most of your points Columba. I had v. little idea of the geography or history of the area and I liked the way these points were covered gradually over the course of the book.

It was easy to read, nearly missed my tube station a couple of times! My only criticism was that the journey seemed a little rushed towards the end but I get the impression that the author may have been running on empty by then.

I hardly ever read non-fiction but this may inspire me to try more.

I gave this book an 8.
Jul 2015
11:17pm, 29 Jul 2015
7301 posts
  • 0
Columba
I gave it to my daughter for her birthday (she has travelled in Africa - but not in the Congo!). Along with Heart of Darkness.
Sep 2015
10:41pm, 22 Sep 2015
1464 posts
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Longwayround (LWR)
It was about six or seven years ago, I think.
Sep 2015
9:50pm, 23 Sep 2015
7871 posts
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Columba
I think you're right, LWR
Sep 2015
12:16pm, 30 Sep 2015
12753 posts
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Yorkshire Pie
I was quite surprised how easily I got through this. It's not really an area of the world I know anything about other than an awareness that there is conflict there but without a real understanding of how all the places and groups fit together, the geography or anything.

I agree that an update would be good - the feeling I got from the book was very much one of there being no easy route to start turning things round.

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Maintained by McGoohan
Here's your discussion thread for Tim Butcher's book Blood River

I'm not sure how you spoileri...
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