Come to Africa and Save Your Marriage, and Other Stories

Maria Thomas, Author Soho Press $14.95 (235p) ISBN 978-0-939149-06-3
Heat and wild color, fear and defeat tangle together in these 14 stories until the reader is stunned by the soaring images and their terrifying implications for the people of East Africa, where Thomas (Antonia Saw the Oryx First lived for 12 years, absorbing every nuance, it seems, of land and language. She writes in many different voices, the title story a brassy evocation of a white couple living in a squalid Dar-es-Salaam slum, cuckolding each other, dreaming of American snow and knowing that it will never wash their marriage clean. Utterly different is Gwendolyn of ""Summer Opportunity,'' a black girl given the chance to improve her career possibilities by spending a summer in Lagos. Before she leaves, she buys a pair of glitzy platform sandals, ``whore shoes,'' her mother accuses, but Gwendolyn doesn't plan to ruin her career by consorting with Africans. The shoes are sacrificed, though, along with her hopes, to the wife of the Nigerian she can't help sleeping with. Desperation blackens all these tales, but none more formidably than ``Why the Sky Is So Far Away,'' a glimpse of Peace Corps volunteers during an African drought. Parched and sick with malaria, they set out to vaccinate the natives against smallpox and pick up an old man who tells them about a people who hack away the sky, eat it, spit it out as excrement, robbing the world of rain. This is a collection of enormous emotional impact. (September 23)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1987
Release date: 09/01/1987
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 978-0-939149-21-6
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-56947-039-8
Paperback - 232 pages - 978-1-56947-447-1
Hardcover - 296 pages - 978-0-939149-02-5
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