Zenosbooks

A Good Man In Africa by William Boyd. New York. 1982. Morrow. hardcover. 342 pages. keywords: Literature England Africa. 0688008208.

 

 

0688008208FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   A Good Man in Africa is William Boyd's classic, prize-winning debut novel. It is winner of the Whitbread Award and the Somerset Maugham Prize. Escapee from suburbia, overweight, oversexed. Morgan Leafy isn't overburdened with worldly success. Actually, he is refreshingly free from it. But then, as a representative of Her Britannic Majesty in tropical Kinjanja, it was not very constructive of him to get involved in wholesale bribery. Nor was it exactly oiling his way up the ladder to hunt down the improbably pointed breasts of his boss' daughter when officially banned from horizontal delights by a nasty dose. .Falling back on his deep-laid reserves of misanthropy and guile, Morgan has to fight off the sea of humiliation, betrayal and ju-ju that threatens to wash over him.

 

 

Boyd WilliamWilliam Boyd (born 7 March 1952) is a British novelist and screenwriter resident in London. Boyd was born in Accra, Ghana, and spent his early life in Ghana and Nigeria. He was educated at Gordonstoun school; and then the University of Nice, France, the University of Glasgow, and finally Jesus College, Oxford. Between 1980 and 1983 he was a lecturer in English at St Hilda's College, Oxford, and it was while he was there that his first novel, A Good Man in Africa (1981), was published. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2005. Although his novels have been short-listed for major prizes, he has never had the same publicity as his contemporaries. Boyd was selected in 1983 as one of the 20 ‘Best of Young British Novelists’ in a promotion run by Granta magazine and the Book Marketing Council. Boyd's novels include: A Good Man in Africa, a study of a disaster-prone British diplomat operating in West Africa, for which he won the Whitbread Book award and Somerset Maugham Award in 1981; An Ice-Cream War, set against the background of the World War I campaigns in colonial East Africa, which won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was nominated for the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1982; Brazzaville Beach, published in 1991, which follows a female scientist researching chimpanzee behaviour in Africa; and Any Human Heart, written in the form of the journals of a fictitious twentieth century British writer, which was long-listed for the Booker Prize in 2002. Restless, the tale of a young woman who discovers that her mother had been recruited as a spy during World War II, was published in 2006 and won the Novel Award in the 2006 Costa Book Awards. Boyd published Waiting for Sunrise: A Novel in early 2012. On 11 April 2012 it was announced that Boyd would write the next James Bond novel. Boyd says the book, Solo, will be set in 1969. Jonathan Cape will publish the book in the UK in the autumn of 2013. Boyd used James Bond creator Ian Fleming as a character in his novel Any Human Heart. Fleming recruits the book's protagonist, Logan Mountstuart, to naval intelligence during World War Two. Boyd has also worked with three of the actors who have portrayed Bond in the film series: Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig. As a screenwriter Boyd has written a number of feature film and television productions. The feature films include: Scoop (1987), adapted from the Evelyn Waugh novel; Stars and Bars (1988), adapted from Boyd's own novel; Mister Johnson (1990), based on the 1939 novel by Joyce Cary; A Good Man in Africa (1994), also adapted from his own novel; and The Trench (1999) which he also directed. He was one of a number of writers who worked on Chaplin (1992). His television screenwriting credits include: Good and Bad at Games (1983), adapted from Boyd's short story about English public school life; Dutch Girls (1985); Armadillo (2001), adapted from his own novel; A Waste of Shame (2005) about Shakespeare; Any Human Heart (2010), adapted from his own novel; and Restless (2012), also adapted from his own novel. In 1998, Boyd published Nat Tate: An American Artist 1928-1960, which presents the paintings and tragic biography of a supposed New York-based 1950s abstract expressionist painter named Nat Tate, who actually never existed and was, along with his paintings, a creation of Boyd's. When the book was initially published, it was not revealed that it was a work of fiction, and some were duped by the hoax; it was launched at a lavish party, with excerpts read by David Bowie (who was in on the joke), and a number of prominent members of the art world claimed to remember the artist. It caused quite a stir once the truth was revealed. The name ‘Nat Tate’ is derived from the names of the two leading British art galleries: the National Gallery and the Tate Gallery. Nat Tate also appears in Any Human Heart, also by Boyd, with a wry footnote to the 1998 book. Boyd adapted two Anton Chekhov short stories - A Visit to Friends and My Life (The Story of a Provincial) - to create the play Longing. The play, directed by Nina Raine, stars Jonathan Bailey, Tamsin Greig, Natasha Little, Eve Ponsonby, John Sessions and Catrin Stewart. Boyd, who was theatre critic for the University of Glasgow in the 1970s and has many actor friends, refers to his ambition to write a play as finally getting ‘this monkey off my back.’

 

 

 

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