Paradise of Thorns
From the Samuel Johnson Prize shortlisted author, a powerful literary memoir about life in rural Nairobi, one of the last true wildernesses of the world.Aidan Hartley's family has always moved from farm to farm, propelled mostly across Africa, though once to Devon.
Slowly, Aidan began to understand that his family's choice to live on farms was little to do with the business of agriculture.
Their instinct and his inherited urge was to avoid other people and make a home in the lone, wild paradise.
Farming became a state of mind, a fugitive one.Now, Aidan has his own farm in view of the Kenyan Mountain.
His work is dosing sheep, dipping cattle, fixing machinery, responding to the night alarms of rustlers entering the valley on elephant raids.
Living here, injury means relying on a manual called Where There is No Doctor, and the home medicine chest complete with blood coagulants for gunshot wounds.It is a landscape tragically at risk.
Across the course of Aidan's life, before his eyes, the nature around him has changed.
The wild hunting dog, cheetah, rhinos, elephants - even the giraffe and lion - face oblivion.
Whole forests have been torn down. Kenya Mountain on the horizon is losing its tropical icefields - they will be gone in a handful of years.Paradise of Thorns is a restlessly inventive literary memoir: the story of Aidan's departure from cities and the irresistible call that pulled him back to the wilds.
It is part glorious testament to the extraordinary heart of rural Africa as a place which is fast becoming lost, part antidote to the chicanery written about the country over the centuries, and part adventure story of drug trade, cattle raids, gunfights, lost friends, ambushes, posses and battles.