A South African bushman is sent on a mission to visit the Queen of England to remind her of her grandmother Victoria's pledge to protect his people from harm - a perilous journey indeed among the hostile, uncivilized natives in this cold, sodden land. David Mungo Booi is a descendant of the Bushmen who once lived in the distant African Karoo. ...
A South African bushman is sent on a mission to visit the Queen of England to remind her of her grandmother Victoria's pledge to protect his people from harm - a perilous journey indeed among the hostile, uncivilized natives in this cold, sodden land. David Mungo Booi is a descendant of the Bushmen who once lived in the distant African Karoo. Chosen by a conclave of elders, traveling on funds raised by public subscription, sponsored by the Society for Promoting the Discovery of the Interior Parts of England, Booi embarks on a mission never before attempted by a civilized man: to explore England as a site suitable for settlement and to assess if the natives are friendly and capable...He sets out to answer ancient questions about this strange island race: why do they believe there will always be an England? Did they build Jerusalem in their green and pleasant land? David Booi's epic journey takes him from prison to Parliament, from asylum to Palace. Battling each step of the way against treachery, cruelty, superstition and disease, his English notebooks tell of an exploration as heroic as any African safari and a good deal darker.
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Publishers Weekly, 1996-08-12 South African poet and novelist Hope (Serenity House), whose previous works have been ironic analyses of contemporary life both in his native land and in his adoptive England, segues brilliantly into satire here. The present-day explorations of a South African Bushman called David Mungo Booi are chronicled in his purported diary, a record of his perilous, hilarious journey to the remote island of Britain. Sponsored by his tribe's Society for Promoting the Discovery of Interior Britain, Booi's mission is to explore the isle, learn something of the inhabitants (purported to be "a savage people who made constant war against their neighbors''), and solicit the aid of Her Majesty against the Boers and others who would restrict their liberties, just as his people did from her great-grandmother, "Old Auntie with Diamonds in Her Hair." He bravely travels through uncharted, hostile modern England "with just the right amount of ignorance," as his posthumous editor puts it, encountering natives quite fallen off from the days of Empire: John Farebrother, a grounded "flying Bishop"; Lord Goodlove, a hunting and shooting type with his own endangered species preserve; and Mr. Conbrio, a member of the "Mother of All Parliaments." Sometimes Hope pushes Booi's Candidian na?vet? a bit far in the face of these grotesque caricatures, but he recovers his humor with imaginative inversions of English stereotypes and current events. When Booi finally meets HMQ, the encounter is the funniest spoof of the endangered royal species since Sue Townsend's The Queen and I. (Sept.)
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