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The Explosion of the Radiator Hose

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3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  30 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
In this nominally true story of an epic, transcontinental road trip, Jean Rolin travels to Africa from darkest France, accompanying a battered Audi to its new life as a taxi to be operated by the family of a Congolese security guard. The ghost of Joseph Conrad haunts Rolin’s journey, as do memories of his expatriate youth in Kinshasa in the early 1960s—but no less present ...more
Paperback, 168 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by Dalkey Archive Press (first published February 1st 2007)
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Jim
Jan 31, 2016 Jim rated it really liked it
Shelves: france, africa, fiction
Look at it as a kind of 21st century rewrite of Joseph Conrad's The Heart of Darkness. Jean Rolin writes of his journey to the Congo interior, but with a used Audi being imported from Europe to be used as a taxi in the lucrative Kinshasa market. But as the book's title, The Explosion of the Radiator Hose, hints, it was not an easy task.

In Congo, everybody's hand is out and obtrusive officialdom is rife:
I spent whole days in Kurt's office -- he busying himself with innumerable tasks (for the mos
...more
Greg
Jan 11, 2012 Greg rated it really liked it
Taken in by the garish cover and references to the author's gonzo journalism (undeserved, it turns out), I was surprised to find the narrator (we have to remind ourselves that this is putatively a fiction) spending great swathes of this book attempting not to be bored, usually reading his dear Proust, but not so fast that he would finish "Remembrance of Things Past" before the end of his voyage on a cargo ship to Africa. In fact very few incidents in this trip from Paris to Kinshasa exceed the ...more
Joe
Mar 31, 2012 Joe rated it liked it
Although it’s billed as an “epic transcontinental road trip,” that description doesn’t really fit Jean Rolin’s The Explosion of the Radiator Hose, making its first appearance in English this spring for Dalkey Archive. More an unconventional record of one man’s questionably truthful journey by ship from Paris, France to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it’s only nominal kin to transcontinental African travelogues like Paul Theroux’s Dark Star Safari or Julian Smith’s recent Crossing the ...more
Petr
Sep 15, 2015 Petr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easy to read and easy to follow, this book provides on its 200 pages quite an interesting insight into contemporary Congo, its recent history and relation with France.
A good read for someone who, like me, knows nothing about this part of the world and wants to change it.
Andy Gleeson
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May 02, 2012
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Madeleine Decker
Aug 13, 2011 Madeleine Decker rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman, france, congo
Pfffffffffff!!! Même pas bon dans l`anecdote ...more
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Aug 24, 2016 Laurent Ruyt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absurde mais de manière exquise.
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