cover image Isla Africa

Isla Africa

Ramon Lobo. Editorial Seix Barral, $23.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-84-322-1103-4

A Venezuelan reporter for the Spanish newspaper El Pa!s, Lobo has covered numerous conflicts, including those in Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq, and Sierra Leone. In 1999, he published El heroe inexistente (The Nonexistent Hero, Aguilar), a firsthand account of his experiences as a war correspondent. In his debut novel, Lobo interweaves fact and fiction to tell the story of reporter Carlos Bota and photographer Sincero del Corral, who, having covered political and humanitarian crises worldwide for 20 years, are drawn back to the decade-long conflict in Sierra Leone. Corral's narrative voice unifies a series of flashbacks and fragments from Bota's journals. Together, these elements reconstruct the pair's complex friendship as well as Bota's existential crisis, which brings about their final trip to West Africa. In the tradition of historical novelists such as Graham Greene, Lobo skillfully situates his tale within a real sociopolitical context and tells a gripping, moving story that never loses sight of the greater context of human tragedy. Recommended for bookstores and public and academic libraries. Wilson Neate, New York City