A young, black Tanzanian, Askari, searches for the father hes never known. His mother, Iyeala, has kept the mans name from him. Her own father abandoned her on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater when she was only a year old. Askaris wife, British teen Suzanna Farley, has recently learned the man who raised her is not her biological parent; the man who killed her father before she was born is the father of a childhood friend, Safina, with whom she has begun a dangerous affair. The absence of fathers has led these characters into an emotional tangle fueled by secrecy and madness. Ultimately, a gruesome murder forces them to grapple with inescapable truths. As they thirst for answers, the found journal of one deceased father offers wisdom; a revealed father goes against everything he believes in to smooth rough waters for his children; a reconciled father pleads ignorance in the case of shocking abuse perpetrated on his daughter; and a leopard father brings his son to the only safe place he knows, a compound where the troubled humans reside. Healing comes in slow and surprising steps for the hearts that need it most in this often lonely and unforgiving Africa.
This is a wonderful story. I appreciate the way its complexity unfolds and its core themes of the many aspects of love, forgiveness, compassion, and non-judgment play out. The characters are well-drawn and credible and the descriptions so rich, I feel like Ive watched it as a film. A great read.