Eric Campbell The Year of the Leopard Song

ISBN 13: 9780152008734

The Year of the Leopard Song

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9780152008734: The Year of the Leopard Song

Alan embarks on a treacherous journey up the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, following the Song of the Leopard, which is also pulling his suddenly aloof friend, Kimathi, to the upper peaks and to a meeting that will forever change both of their lives. "An engrossing story."--Booklist.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 7-10-- Alan Edwards, 18, has just returned to his father's coffee farm in Tanzania after a year in England. He is met by his boyhood friend, Kimathi, a Chagga youth who shares his birth date. A ritualistic spell transforms Kimathi, marked at birth by a sixth digit on his left hand and foot, into a leopard, and the future of his people rests on his ability to follow the directives of the animal's spirit. Then, Alan is designated as his prey. Driven by forces outside themselves, the two meet one another on a snowy peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro. This is a gripping adventure story, but one that exploits its characters and setting. Told from alternating perspectives, the events are relayed by Alan, Kimathi, and the nearby town's police chief. Although readers may feel sympathy for Kimathi's plight, the superficiality of his development and the brutality he is forced to commit distance him. The pace is sustained well, but the confrontation at the end promises far more than it delivers, and leaves readers with little understanding of these people or or their motivations. The only other black African described in any depth is the police chief, who violates human rights and despises his own people even as he feels a connection to them. The novel is filled with outdated and pejorative terms. Readers will want to identify with the brave, idealistic Alan, who believes he belongs in Africa and can have a friend from another culture, but the author shows, with heavy hand, how naive that belief is. Although set in Guatemala rather than Africa, Omar Castaneda's Among the Volcanoes (Lodestar, 1991) is a far more sensitive and complex portrait of a traditional culture undergoing change. --Lyn Miller-Lachmann, Siena College Library, Loudonville, NY
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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