Batsap's Reviews > The African Queen

The African Queen by C.S. Forester
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's review
May 05, 11

bookshelves: classics
Read from May 01 to 04, 2011

Reading Forester's novel of Cockney mechanic Allnut's and missionary's sister Rose's journey down an African river wore me out! Set during the First World War, von Hanneken raids African villages for recruits. The devastation of having his flock taken from him kills Rose's sickening brother. It is Rose's tireless quest for vengeance against the Germans that keeps this novel driving forwards. Her and Allnut work ceaselessly to get the steamboat The African Queen down the river to torpedo a German ship. At every stage of the journey they meet with danger and obstacles. The descriptions of their efforts, the dangers and the African heat were so effective that I felt like I was getting a rest myself whenever Rose and Allnut settled down to sleep for the night.

For such a slim book, there is a lot of information packed in about the war, African rivers and boats, but this never drags the story down. Even though the book is more character- than plot-based, there is always a sense of movement and progess. It is a tight, neat novel in which every word counts. Both Rose and Allnutt were lovable characters and the love they discovered for one another was adorable. I felt very fond of and protective over them. They made a very sweet couple!

The only thing I disliked about this novel was the ending. After everything the characters had gone through, it felt like something of an anticlimax. It left me feeling slightly empty, as if the story hadn't ended properly. I don't know how I would have preferred it to end, any other way might have seemed 'false', but it was still a slight let-down after the rest of the book was so enjoyable.

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