2 July 2005

Filed under Reviews

Continental drift

Last Orders at Harrods, by Michael Holman (Polygon, £9.99)

The principle of divide and rule holds Kuwisha in thrall to the despotism of President Nduka, whose leadership style is an eclectic combination of "Victorian values" and "a dash of voodoo". Unfortunately, despite best efforts, humanitarian aid projects and World Bank loans are insufficient to stem endemic corruption, and Cecil Pearson, a Financial News hack turned do-gooder hatches a plan to bring about change. Meanwhile, Charity Mupanga, the buxom owner of Harrods International Bar (and Nightspot) is coming under fire from a firm of London solicitors specialising in trademarks. Giving a nod to the current literary vogue for whimsical Africana, this wickedly satirical novel is also a serious critique of the continent's troubled state. Holman, a former Africa editor for the Financial Times, evokes an Africa which, though beset by problems of often tragic proportions, is full of irrepressible vitality. ASc