Tony's Reviews > A Good Man in Africa

A Good Man in Africa by William Boyd
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Jul 09, 11

bookshelves: fiction-mainstream
Read in July, 2011

Boyd, William. A GOOD MAN IN AFRICA. (1981). *****.
This was Boyd’s first novel, and was the winner of the Whitbread Prize and the Somerset Maugham Award. So far, I’ve only read one other of his novels, but, with luck, I’ll be able to get at the rest of them. He is one terrific writer. This novel, as you might guess, is set in Africa in the fictiional republic of Kinjanja. The protagonist is Morgan Leafy, a young man on his first assignment with the British diplomatic service. He tends to bumble through his job, and has been at it for about three years. His love of women, especially other mens’ wives, his fondness for drink and his loathing for the country he finds himself leads him into a variety of efforts to get ahead in the world – they usually being of a shady type. He gets himself involved in a plot hatched by his superior – Operation Kingpin – and is charged with becoming friendly with the replublic’s frontrunner in their next election. He views this as an opportunity to advance his career, but he is not prepared for the political savvy surrounding his prey. He then finds himself in a world of trouble that he only seems able to make worse for himself in a series of comic episodes that will leave you smiling. You soon learn that the “good man” of the title is not Morgan Leafy. Highly recommended.
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