No Mercy: A Journey to the Heart of the Congo

Redmond O'Hanlon, Author Alfred A. Knopf $29.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-679-40655-6
This manic account of an adventure in search of a fabled dinosaur living in a lake in the depths of the Congo jungles is a Mad Hatter's tale that defies credibility, yet its author--either a Munchausen or a genius--draws a brilliantly comic picture of the Marxist-Leninist state of the People's Republic of the Congo, whose version of socialism is permeated by magicians, feticheuses and seers. O'Hanlon, author of other extravagant travel tales (Into the Heart of Borneo), set out to find the beast accompanied by an ailing scientist friend of his youth and several native colleagues, one of whom claims to have seen it and to know where to find it. They slog through swamps, fight off tsetse flies and rats, bribe everyone along the way, visit feticheuses, feed on manioc and get drunk on local liquor. Lengthy and hilarious conversations about local sex and politics--reported with suspiciously perfect recall--intermingle with revelations about rare bees, pigs, snakes, flies, fleas and other creatures they encounter amid the wild tangle of jungle flora. Never finding the dinosaur, their guide confesses that it was a good ploy to get money out of the foreign adventurers. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 04/28/1997
Release date: 05/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-679-73732-2
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