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Kilimanjaro Snow by Gaile Parkin

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | General Fiction

By Avid Reader

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This snow sparkles!

Kilimanjaro Snow is the third book in Gaile Parkin’s trilogy about the African adventures of the Tungaraza family. If you haven’t already read Baking Cakes In Kigali and then When Hoopoes Go To Heaven, I am certain that reading Kilimanjaro Snow will inspire you to do so.

Each book concerns the ever-creative Angel, who makes fabulous cakes to order for her varied clientele and helps them with their problems; Pius, her husband, a university lecturer and very wise person; and their grandchildren for whom they are now, by dint of tragedy, parents: Benedict, Grace, Faith, Moses, Daniel and Titi (who is not directly related).

Books one and two are set in post-genocide Rwanda and Swaziland respectively, following Pius’ postings for his work. Kilimanjaro Snow brings them all home to Tanzania, where the family expands yet again to embrace the traumatized, orphaned, newly arrived young Lovemore. I found myself both weeping and laughing out loud while immersed in her story.

Against the broad background of the decimating tragedy of HIV/AIDS, genocide, warfare and corruption – all stereotypically negative aspects of life in Africa that the media love to emphasise – Gaile Parkin brilliantly manages to portray another side of life on that continent. This family’s grief, loss, shame and, ultimately, triumph, is revealed with an assured lightness of touch, compassion, respect, and, above all, humour. To accomplish this is a rare and special gift.

We follow Lovemore from her first-ever flight to join her grandparent-parents through her harrowing but compulsive reading of her late mother’s journal/love letter to her daughter, which reveals some shocking facts about her life and Lovemore’s family. How this plays out within the warm embrace of the Tungaraza family is at the heart of this book.

I am filled with admiration for this writer’s skill and humanity and I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

(c) Avid Reader

Order your copy online here.

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