In Search of Africa
Praise for In Search of Africa
“Frank Coates … is one of the few writers whose fiction shows a primary concern for the countries he is describing”- Sydney Morning Herald
“Coates powerfully recreates the turbulent past”- Courier Mail
“… the most moving of his yarns, with lyrical descriptions of the countries and ways of life”- Pittwater Life
“In some ways Coates is a more graphic writer than (Wilbur) Smith”- Courier Mail
The tide of history turns, and Africa is irrevocably transformed. Terror drives colonial Kenya reluctantly toward independence, turning a white boy’s childhood games lethal when the Mau Mau recruits his only friend. Kip Balmain also struggles to understand his mother’s vindictive hatred of the father he has never met, and resolves to find him.
In Uganda, a family flees the horror of civil war, only to find that human frailties can also fracture family bonds. Rose Nasonga, a girl at risk after her idyllic village life becomes a nightmare of violence, uses her beauty to escape into the world of international fashion, but learns that drugs and alcohol can be equally destructive.
Out of the horrors of war, across the boundaries of time and race, Kip and Rose discover that their lives are mysteriously linked. The clue lies in a broken trinket. And the paths they travel alone, and ultimately together, lead them inexorably to their greatest discovery.
With the author behind the Scenes of In Search of Africa
I continually scour books and magazines for inspiration, plus I go back to Africa every year to absorb the energy of the place, and to talk to as many people as possible. In fact, it was while staying with my friends in Nairobi that I found perhaps the most moving story of all.
I usually stay with my old mate from my Hash House Harrier days (the Hash has been called the drinking club with a running problem). Raynar is a German, married to Rose – a stunning Ugandan woman and former international model. Raynar is not only my host, he very generously loans me his very old, very big Land Rover to go gallivanting all over Kenya in.
We had finished dining one evening, and were enjoying a glass or two of wine, when Rose began to reminisce about her childhood and her family’s escape from Idi Amin’s monstrous purge in her home country. She told many stories about her experiences and those of her many siblings, any of which would make for an absorbing novel in its own right. Raynar admitted to hearing much of what we heard that night for the first time. I suspect it was a cathartic experience for Rose. It was a story of immense courage and family solidarity that I suspect is only too common in the trouble spots of Africa.
I took the essence of Rose’s story, and projected it into another historical conflict – Kenya during the Mau Mau uprising. I combined Rose’s story with another true story offered to me by a friend who was agreeable to have his search to find his father, and the shocking truth he discovered, revealed. The result was In Search of Africa.
Nielsen BookScan rated In Search of Africa in the Top Ten Australian fiction books for 2006 (SMH Spectrum December 2 – 3, 2006).