Bill Bryson goes to Kenya at the invitation of CARE International, the charity dedicated to working with local communities to eradicate poverty around the world. Kenya, generally regarded as the cradle of mankind, is a land of contrasts, with famous game reserves, stunning landscapes, and a vibrant cultural tradition. It also provides plenty to worry a traveller like Bill Bryson, fixated as he is on the dangers posed by snakes, insects and large predators. But on a more sober note, it is a country that shares many serious human and environmental problems with the rest of Africa: refugees, AIDS, drought and grinding poverty.Travelling around the country, Bryson casts his inimitable eye on a continent new to him, and the resultant diary, though short in length, contains the trademark Bryson stamp of wry observation and curious insight. All the author's royalties from Bill Bryson's African Diary, as well as all profits, will go to CARE International.
Bill Bryson, author of Notes from a Small Island and many other irresistibly funny travel books, requires no introduction, but his African Diary does. Bryson was invited by CARE International, a charity dedicated to working with local communities to eradicate poverty, to go to Kenya to visit some of their projects, and write a few words on their behalf. The result is this slim hardback, which contains just 49 pages of text by the author plus eight pages of excellent colour photographs. Bryson himself clearly sets out the deal on the last page - 'in acquiring this slim volume you don't actually buy a book. You make a donation to a worthy cause, and get a free book in return'. But many devoted readers will buy this volume as a new Bryson book, so how does it rate? Bryson sets out to write a short diary of an organized trip to Kenya, and achieves little more, or less, than that. This is most definitely not a typical Bryson travel book (in fact at around 11,000 words it is more of a long article than a short book), and his unique humour, which has created so many bestsellers, is limited to a few sections on Kenya Railways and a plane flight. The descriptions of the CARE projects rarely rise above the ordinary, and in most cases could have been written by CARE's own PR department. The author sums it up himself on page 55, 'Well, that's pretty much it, I'm afraid...obviously there is only so much you can learn about a country in eight days.' But it would be churlish to be too critical; the whole exercise benefits a very good cause, and Bryson and the CARE team have produced a handsome little book. (Kirkus UK)
Number Of Pages: 64
Published: December 2002
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 18.6 x 13.4 x 1.4
Weight (kg): 0.19
Edition Number: 1