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The Lion Sleeps Tonight: And Other Stories of Africa

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  69 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Since its original publication twenty years ago Rian Malan's classic work of narrative nonfiction "My Traitor's Heart" has earned its author comparisons to masters of literary nonfiction like Michael Herr and Ryszard Kapuscinski.
"The Lion Sleeps Tonight" is Malan's remarkable chronicle of South Africa's halting, sometimes violent, steps and missteps, taken as blacks and w
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ebook, 368 pages
Published November 1st 2012 by Grove Press (first published September 1st 2011)
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Holly Morrow
Rian Malan is super salty. Hes kind of like a South African Christopher Hitchens, except more likeable and less snobby. His earlier book, My Traitor’s Heart, is apparently a classic about South Africa in the transition out of apartheid. This book is a collection of essays he has written in the years since then, some published some not, about various topics (grouped under “politics,” “culture,” “disease,” etc). Malan started out as a liberal white who cheered the end of apartheid, and while he do ...more
Amina |  PAPER/PLATES
Oct 29, 2012 Amina | PAPER/PLATES rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in contemporary South Africa
When I traveled to South Africa in 2009, I listened to a lot of music. The 30-hour trek was set to a score from artists ranging from Explosions in the Sky to Girl Talk. Shockingly, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” didn’t make it onto my iPod for that trip.

Skip straight to the recipe inspired by this book.

To me, that song was a pivotal element in Simba’s growing up scene in The Lion King. It was a cheesy old thing whose origins I didn’t know and didn’t care to know. It was likely a white man’s song abou
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AJ
I really like Malan’s writing and his viewpoint. I don’t always agree with him, but I think he casts a cynical eye on things when many others are loathe to do so. He doesn’t blindly embrace either side of many of the cultural, political, and social issues in South Africa but examines them in his own way, which sometimes leads to conclusions that put him on the “wrong” side of social trends. But, I appreciate the viewpoint and it always makes me think.

This isn’t really a new book, but rather a co
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Jeanette
This book is composed of essays Rian Malan wrote for various magazines over fifteen or more years about South Africa, his homeland. As an investigative reporter he writes about a wide variety of topics from the history of the song The Lion Sleeps Tonight to AIDS in South Africa. Some of the essays I found interesting, but I tired of his cynicism as I continued to read the book. In many cases, because I didn't know the people referred to in the article, I didn't really understand the issues invol ...more
Melissa
First, I went into this book with a serious misconception. I expected it to be a collection of African stories, fictional in their entirety. Instead, I was confronted with a vastly different viewpoint from my own and the author's endless writing over several decades of life in his home country of South Africa. While I did find it interesting to read some excerpts from this man's own ideology through his collected writings, I was put off my his tone and way of approaching the subjects. I think it ...more
Fred Daly
Essays by a South African journalist. He's cranky and very skeptical of liberal pieties, but he can write, and he picks fascinating subjects.
Laura
I absolutely loved Malan's articles on South Africa and particularly the story of the famous song The Lion Sleeps Tonight. That song was played to me in its original form in London at a local gig in Camberwell and since then its rhythm has been with me, absolutely magical. Imagine my surprise and amazement at finding out the story behind the evolution of this amazing tune, Malan's fight to get the original author rights to the right people. Yes, he's bloody opinionated, he's arrogant at times, h ...more
Michael
Author, Rian Malan has certainly earned his reputation as an international acclaimed author. I enjoyed this book. He brings South Africa close to your heart and mind through his personal experiences of associations and investigative journalism. In fact, Malan exemplifies what good journalist used to be....journalist; not great sensationalist as we have today throughout the mainstream media global network.

Great read in my opinion and I recommend this book.
Evan
A great read. It is a composition of past articles he wrote for various magazines and newspapers, so each story is usually fairly short, but each one was captivating. It really chronicles how sad things are for people in South Africa from a variety of different angles. I could not put the book down until I finished each individual story.
Gregg Chadwick
The author offers his perspective on the difficulties South Africa faced transitioning from the apartheid era to a political climate dominated by the ANC. His stories may challenge some of your assumptions, but in the end this seems to be a guy who loves South Africa.
Debbie
This book is a collection of essays about South Africa. I enjoyed it since I know nearly nothing about that country. I found it fascinating reading about the ANC and the politics there. It made me feel very ignorant about the world in general!
Jenny
I love Malan's writing, and his cynicism gives me hope for the world. We cannot accept that there is one truth, and Rian makes this abundantly clear in his writing.
Darren
Malan has a great writing style. Enjoyed the stories and felt like I learned a lot. It's nice to hear a voice different from the approved narrative.
Marsha
I live with an Afrikanner. This book is from an Afrikanner's perspective on Africa but without the rhetoric. Well worth the read.
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Rian Malan is a South African author, journalist, documentarist and songwriter of Afrikaner descent. He first rose to prominence as the author of the memoir My Traitor's Heart, which, like the bulk of his work, deals with South African society in a historical and contemporary perspective and focuses on racial relations. As a journalist, he has written for major newspapers in South Africa, Great Br ...more
More about Rian Malan...
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