I took a break from 11/22/63 to get this particular book out of my life. The cover declares that it is “a cult bestseller.” The author died young (at 40), and I wonder how much that had to do with the notoriety of this, the first of a trilogy (none of which were published during his lifetime).

There’s nothing particularly profound about this tale of the privileged living in Africa and trying to navigate being in a kind of (wait for it) exile. The main character, Samantha, is just absurd. Her aggressive sexuality comes off as more than a little slimy in the hands of this male writer.

Ejersbo’s occasional attempts to dabble with real issues come off as incredibly clumsy (and, one hopes, poorly translated), especially since they surrounded by racist, misogynist absurdities.

Why did I finish it? I have a hard time putting books down, and I guess I held out some hope that Ejersbo might find his way to a point. If he was aiming for an account of the existentialist ennui of the privileged class, he missed. By a lot.

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