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From Publishers WeeklyIn 1948, a 12-year-old boy named Fintan is sailing to Africa with his Italian mother to live with the British father he doesn't remember. At times, this French novel paints too precious a picture of the young Fintan and his mother, who occasionally writes down poetic bits like 'In my hands I hold the prey of silence.' The ship's voyage can drag, too, with too many hints about the characters' previous lives (upon learning that Fintan has contracted scabies, his mother cries out 'A barnyard disease!'). But once the pair arrive in Onitsha, in Nigeria, Fintan's views of the colonial situation and the different ways that Europeans adapt to their surroundings prove fresh and valuable, though suffused with the unworldly morality of the innocent. He befriends Bony, the son...
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