cover image Assignments in Africa: Reflections, Descriptions, Guesses

Assignments in Africa: Reflections, Descriptions, Guesses

Per Wastberg. Farrar Straus Giroux, $16.95 (231pp) ISBN 978-0-374-10643-0

Pessimism of mind and optimism of will, a dualism of hope and doubt pervade this sensitive account of a spiritual journey in southeastern Africa, first published in Stockholm in 1976. Wastberga Swedish novelist, journalist and president of International PENobserves, inquires of, reflects on and describes the people and rulers, governments and natural surroundings of struggling new countries engulfed by problems of poverty, disease, insufficient education and jobs, and an oversufficiency of bureaucracy, paperwork and corruption. Humor and openness, however, are qualities that impress him most in the Africans he has come to know better. Wastberg is absorbed by the legacy of Eduardo Mondlane, the murdered leader of Frelimo, Mozambique's ruling party, and with the changes that took place in that country during its first year of independence. Despite some superficially dated elements, this is a timeless book of insight and intimacy. (September)