(E–pub READ) [Brazzaville Beach]

  • ebook
  • 320
  • Brazzaville Beach
  • William Boyd
  • English
  • 07 January 2018
  • 9780380780495

William Boyd Î 4 Read

Brazzaville Beach Read ↠ 104 F apes and humans alike And to move forward she must first grasp some hard and elusive truths about marriage and madness about the greed and savagery of charlatan science and about what compels seemingly benign creatures to kill for pleasure alon. When the novel opens Hope Clearwater is living in a house on Brazzaville Beach that she owns as a result of her Egyptian lover s death in the civil war in the Congo She is reflecting on the complexities of her life over the last two years and recuperating from being taken hostage by the rebels Hope is trying to figure out all that s happened to her both in England with her husband and the events that caused her to flee to a new job in Africa and the challenges she s faced since then How much of what has happened is due to her actions and how much is just random eventsThe author allows us to follow her thoughts by dividing her narration of them into two voices one told in the first person and one told in the third This has the effect of making them both seem immediate as if they were taking place at the same time She also dwells on mathematics a lot Her husband was a mathematician trying to develop a formula or algorithm around turbulence all of which is difficult for Hope to understand It s also causing problems for her husband who eventually goes insane with predictably disruptive resultsThis is how Hope finds herself in a Primate Study Group in the Congo during the civil war Although she s just completed her PhD in ecology this is the first time she has worked with chimps and now she is working for the world s expert in the field When some bizarre and frightening things begin to happen in the field Dr Mallabar finds Hope threatening to his work and reputationBrazzaville Beach is a complex and cleverly told tale of human beings and their interactions under pressure both personal and from outside the group Everything is dovetailed to fit neatly together philosophically although this doesn t become obvious until it s all over The story is interesting enough so that you don t get hit over the head with the allegorical nature but are able to appreciate how well done it is

Summary Brazzaville BeachBrazzaville Beach

Brazzaville Beach Read ↠ 104 Hed up like driftwood on Brazzaville Beach It is here on the distant lonely outskirts of Africa where she must come to terms with the perplexing and troubling circumstances of her recent past For Hope is a survivor of the devastating cruelities o. Many years before Brazzaville Beach was ever published William Blake published this well known poem as part of his Songs of Experience Tyger tyger burning bright In the forests of the night What immortal hand or eye Could flame thy fearful symmetry Blake who was overwhelmed by the beauty and horrors of the natural world saw nature as a place for our own growth in preparation for the beginning of our livesWhy the longish preface about Blake Brazzaville Beach is to some degree about tasting the fruits of knowledge and losing one s innocence The main character Hope Clearwater will be told later on the pursuit of knowledge is the road to hellYou think that if you know everything you can escape from the world There are two Hopes in this book the long ago Hope who lived in England written in third person and the current Hope who lived within an African country written in the immediate first person Both Hopes are uite literally dashed as she pursues elusive and forbidden knowledgeHere s the plot in a nutshell Hope a brilliant scientist in her own right marries a mercurial and highly intellectual mathematician who increasingly begins to go insane as he pursues an elusive game theory on turbulence Intertwined with that story is the African Hope who goes to work for another brilliant man named Mallabar who is about to publish a renowned book on the peaceful chimps Her observations belie his premise the chimps are cannibalizing each other Yet Mallabar will not even entertain that idea he too is losing it as he holds on to the tendrils of knowledge that he has accumulatedAnd Hope Will she too be destroyed as she pursues knowledge or will Hope endure That is the uestion that is at the core of this very clever bookWilliam Boyd in my opinion is a brilliant writer who keeps getting better and better and this is one of his earlier books published in 1990 As an allegory it works beautifully There are however some perceived flawsFor one thing I never bought that a woman of Hope s brilliance single mindedness and beauty would be attracted to her husband John Clearwater His character is somewhat underdeveloped certainly the attraction is not amply explored Admittedly I am not a math person but the many explorations of game theory turbulance catastrophe theory divergence syndromes and other chaos theory components sometimes left me shaking my head They seemed just a little too cleverSecondly there is a long subsection about the African freedom fighters and Hope s unwilling adventure with them As a reader I get it the brutish fighting among various human forces euates to the dissonance among the chimps guerilla leaders and a little stretch gorilla leaders are not all that different Yet I kept wanting the action to return to the ape colony which to me was fascinatingThose two caveats aside I found Brazzaville Beach to be compelling Hope reflects about herself She reshaped the haphazard explicable twists turns o her life into an order that she approved of where the controlling hand o her authorship could be read clearly like a signature Ultimately she is the creator of her own destiny and her fall from Eden is preordained

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Brazzaville Beach Read ↠ 104 In the heart of a civil war torn African nation primate researcher Hope Clearwater made a shocking discovery about apes and man Young alone and far from her family in Britain Hope Clearwater contemplates the extraordinary events that left her was. Brazzaville Beach literary novel as absorbing page turner William Boyd proves himself master of the craft so much drama so much suspenseThe skinny twentysomething Hope Clearwater lives on Brazzaville Beach in West Africa recovering from two major shocks in her life The first relates to her former husband back in England an accomplished mathematician by the name of John Clearwater a man obsessed and driven to formulate groundbreaking euations within the fields of game theory and turbulence The second revolves around Hope s recent participation in the nearby Grosso Arvore Research Project studying chimpanzees under the direction of the world s foremost expert on primates Eugene MallabarWhat adds a distinctive tang to Brazzaville Beach is the way William Boyd toggles back and forth between England and Africa folding in Hope s backstory including her relationship with her family friends academic advisor trained in botany Hope earned a PhD in ethology coupled with shifts of third person objective narration and Hope s first person voice Also included are philosophic reflections sprinkled in at the beginning of each chapter on such topics as topology genetics algorithms and mechanics All in all novel as grand symphony in a brooding key say C sar Franck s Symphony in D minor so many rich interweaving storylines reuiring a bit of unraveling Here are a number of provocative strandsCHIMP CENTERExpanding out to many thousands of acres under the direction of Eugene Mallabar The Grosso Arvore Research Project has been thriving for 30 years In addition to observing chimps in the wild Mallabar set up a feeding station near their base camp so researchers could observe the chimps at close range But how reliable and accurate can the behavior of chimps be under such artificial conditions And to think Mallabar published his The Peaceful Primate back in 1962 and plans to send his latest most comprehensive opus to his publisher in the near future KING OF THE HILL Mallabar repeatedly tells Hope that as the world s foremost expert he knows everything there is to know about chimpanzees Perhaps predictably in 1972 when Hope reports on chimpanzees attacking and murdering a baby chimpanzee know it all Mallabar dismisses her words Mallabar then sends Hope off to town for supplies and when she returns to camp surprise surprise Mallabar informs her of a most unfortunate accident there s been a fire at her lodging and all of her field notes have been destroyed Oh no you don t big man At this point Hope plans her revenge NORTHERN VS SOUTHERN A experienced team of researchers have been charting the behavior of the northern chimps Meanwhile Mallabar assigns Hope to compile field notes on the chimpanzees to the south All goes well until that attack on the baby chimp But then a further shock in the following weeks Hope watches a northern chimp patrol travel south to launch a full scale war on the southerners Recognizing such acts of violence will completely invalidate Mallabar s forthcoming book Hope must consider the odds before communicating her find MAN OF MATHEMATICS Hope reflects on what exactly made John Clearwater so attractive to her as a marriage partner in the first place She always wanted her man to be extremely intelligent and highly unusual however as she eventually realizes she will continually take second place to John s true love mathematics John is a man obsessed with developing a new theory and when Hope inspires him with what she terms his Clearwater Set John s fanaticism reaches scary levels Oh to have such fame within the world of mathematics But at what cost FAMILY AND FRIENDSHope travels to her parents home for her father s 70th birthday party Following the cake and birthday songs her father speaks to her in private Trouble is he said I m so fucking bored That s why I drink I know your mother isn t happy but I just can t help it you see And when conversing with her friend Meredith Hope muses on what it means to possess the capacity to enjoy oneself when alone that is not to forever hanker after the company and conversation of others To my mind these sections of the novel are vitally important and provide a major theme the nature of happiness specifically the ability for someone to rest content in themselves valuing silence and solitude as foundational to a good life CIVIL WAR During Hope s time at Grosso Arvore political complexity casts it shadow a civil war with three sides fighting it out threatens the project s funding and very existence At one point traveling north by jeep rebels take Hope prisoner where she must duck down from an enemy patrol Ah enemy patrol echoes of those northern chimps moving south SIGNIFICANT FEMALEWhen speaking of his own observations out in the field with the chimpanzees one of Hope s fellow researchers announces It s a theory I have You see it s not the alpha male that gives the group its cohesion it s a female A dominant female The novel showcases plenty of groupings both chimpanzee and human so the uestion poses itself How vital is a strong female to a community s health and harmony a theme worth considering as one turns the novel s pages GREEK PHILOSOPHY ANYONEWilliam Boyd has written a highly philosophical novel One key uestion I return to again and again What is the price of fame and reputation For Hope s husband John and Hope s boss Eugene Mallabar fame and reputation are matters of life and death They are both extremely intellectual men but are they men of wisdom Greek philosopher Epicurus warned his followers of the great dangers when one s identity becomes closely entwined with fame and reputation a need that is neither natural nor necessary On one hand I can appreciate a person s dedication to a particular academic discipline but on the other I value what Greek philosophers like Epicurus called Ataraxia a combination of tranuility and joy a state free of stress and anxiety Among other strengths Ataraxia reuires one to have a measure of control over one s emotions something both John Clearwater and Eugene Mallabar lack and that s understatement Am I being too harsh here I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Brazzaville Beach to explore this and many other philosophic uestions for yourself And enjoy all the chimpanzees and humans along the way Scottish author William Boyd born 1952 The last thing we learn about ourselves is our effect William Boyd Brazzaville Beach