I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review from the publisher.
Oh, Africa! takes readers to places they’ve never been–on the sets of 1920s New York-based films and halfway across the world to the mysterious and exciting ‘dark continent’ and showcases characters to perfection.
Twins Micah and Izzy have been making pictures for years–it’s a perfect match, as Micah gets to call the shots as director and Izzy gets to frame the shots as the cameraman. But, when the two are given a new opportunity, a once in a lifetime trip to Africa to film a new movie AND get stock footage for the studio to sell, the men agree to do it. But once in Africa, they deal with a primal tribe and wildlife that doesn’t understand what ‘cut’ means–what happens in this continent has ramifications for both on-screen and off-screen.
Author Andrew Lewis Conn paints a startling realistic view of the continent and the people in Africa, and even more so in New York. The main and supporting cast are given equal opportunities to be developed and to flourish. Halfway through the novel, the reader is still wanting to know more about the characters–and happy to be learning more. This is a very character-focused journey–one that cannot be measured in just mileage.
In the beginning, you want to hate Micah for the things he does, but throughout the story, you just can’t–the decisions he makes clearly weigh on him and, towards the novel’s middle and end, he seems to exonerate himself. Izzy, on the other hand, is sympathetic from the beginning, but as the novel progresses, Izzy’s character deepens and readers will see that while each twin is different, they are also quite the same.
The supporting cast is immeasurably immense, but as I previously stated, each have been given their ‘time’ on stage and the relevant characters are written clearly and with a sense of importance. From the King of the tribe to the shoeshine kid–everyone has a place and Conn writes them impeccably.
The writing is heady and rich and made me feel at equal parts on a safari or reading from a really amazing tome on the history of film–Conn is masterful in his coverage and it makes me really excited for what else he may have out there. I look forward to it, and I hope you do, too.