Hannah Musgrave has always been on the run: from her adoring parents, her many lovers, even from herself. As a young woman, she dropped out of her privileged Boston world to work for the terrorist group the Weathermen. Her activities put Hannah on the FBI's most wanted list forcing her to flee to Liberia in West Africa. There she marries an ...
Hannah Musgrave has always been on the run: from her adoring parents, her many lovers, even from herself. As a young woman, she dropped out of her privileged Boston world to work for the terrorist group the Weathermen. Her activities put Hannah on the FBI's most wanted list forcing her to flee to Liberia in West Africa. There she marries an ambitious, young politician and settles down to being a wife and mother. Liberia, in the meantime, is a country waiting to explode. A century of American exploitation has created a corrupt elite and a fragile military state where the threat of civil war is ever present. The violent events that follow touch everyone close to Hannah and once again she has to escape. This time though the past won't disappear. Reminiscent of the novels of Greene and Conrad, The Darling is big, bold, utterly compelling storytelling.
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Publishers Weekly, 2004-08-02 Six years after the publication of his much-lauded novel Cloudsplitter, Banks returns with a portrayal of personal and political turmoil in West Africa and the U.S. The darling of the title is narrator Hannah Musgrave, a privileged child of the turbulent 1960s and '70s, who now, at 59, reflects on her life. After participating in freewheeling sexual experimentation and radical politics, Hannah is wanted by the FBI for her involvement in the Weather Underground. Under an assumed name, she flees the U.S. for Africa, traveling first to Ghana, then Liberia, where in 1976 she meets and marries Woodrow Sundiata, a government official. Taking on another identity that of foreign wife, and eventually mother to three sons Hannah finds herself increasingly involved with the highest members of Liberia's government as Woodrow's political star rises. She also finds purpose in establishing a sanctuary for endangered chimpanzees. When Liberia explodes into civil war, Hannah's life and the lives of her family are in danger. Readers will be stunned by the gut-wrenching (and often foolish) decisions she makes and by the horrifying outcome of her association with key figures such as Liberian president Samuel Doe and insurgent Charles Taylor. An articulate and keenly observant narrator, Hannah explains Liberia's history and U.S. connections as smoothly as she reflects on tribal practices, the fate of chimpanzees and her own misguidedness. Better yet, for the purposes of good storytelling, she is conflicted and selfish, and often na?ve despite her wide experience. She emerges as a fascinating figure, striking universal chords in her search for identity and home, though her life may ultimately be a study in futility. A rich and complex look at the searing connections between the personal and the political, this is one of Banks's most powerful novels yet. Agent, Ellen Levine. (Oct. 7) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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