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The Gravity of Sunlight
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The Gravity of Sunlight

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  92 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Prizewinning story writer Rosa Shand makes an impressive debut with a novel lushly set in the tumultuous Africa of the 1970s. Agnes is a dissatisfied wife who has come with her husband, a minister, to teach in Kampala, Uganda. The disintegration of their marriage and Agnes' ecstatic affair is played out against this dangerously unsettled atmosphere, taking the reader on a ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Soho Press (first published 2000)
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is my first book read for my Africa 2016 challenge, as I try to finish my project of reading a book from every country (2016 will complete Africa I hope!)

As I searched for books, this one stood out to me despite the fact that it is not a native author. It is 1971 in Uganda, just as the Asian residents are required to leave and others are leaving out of concern for safety, just as Idi Amin is taking control. The book actually backs up on those events but most of it takes place just before th
Dec 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Beautiful writing, slow story, not much plot.
Robert Hays
Apr 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
If ever there was a novel in which setting was the most compelling element, this is it. Rosa Shand is at her best when her narrative centers on Uganda at the time of the Amin coup. The characters--principally international residents caught up in these dangerous times--are well drawn, too, but it is Africa which drives this story. Line for line, Shard is a remarkably talented writer. The supposed "intoxicating sensuality" cited by one reviewer comes up a bit short for me. Apparently it works best ...more
Laurel Deloria
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: africa, descriptions
A Story of love and opportunity within beautiful descriptions of Africa.
Expatriates in Africa find themselves in morally ambiguous territory in this atmospheric tale of passion. Prizewinning story writer Rosa Shand makes an impressive debut with a novel lushly set in the tumultuous Africa of the 1970s. Agnes is a dissatisfied wife who has come with her husband, a... (learn more about this book)
Aug 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, history
Set in Uganda in the 60s just before Idi Amin takes over. There is a lot of chaos surrounding the foreign community that they rarely see; it breaks in suddenly but never really affects them. But the main character, Agnes, creates chaos for herself by repeatedly having affairs, the latest being with a good new friend of her logical, repressed husband. Interesting book. Wonderful descriptions of living in Africa and the people around the main characters.
Ummm...what to say...this is one of those novels that has a beauty in the writing, but the whole story made me uncomfortable. It took me a looooooooong time to finish it, and I'm not sure that reading it in the little spurts I did could give it justice. While I really wanted to like this book, for many reasons, I'm afraid that it just wasn't my style. Sensuality doesn't bother me, but I'm a prude, I guess, and don't like reading about infidelity.

SC writer.
Nov 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: i-own-it
This book was okay - it's advertised as erotic - it wasn't. It's set in Uganda but I didn't "feel" it - I wanted more about the African setting and lifestyle. Basically it's about a bored & unhappy wife that is intrigued with and then falls for a married man. Nothing new there. I was hoping the African setting would provide an interesting backdrop or different take on the age-old story, but it didn't.
John Wood
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a novel that reads like poetry, especially the way the author captures the light of Africa, the mood of expatriates in Uganda, and the complex dynamics related to mission and development work there. Every word is just the right word. It was a great pleasure to read from start to finish. The language itself made each page a marvel. Highly recommended.
Jun 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those that liked Dineson's Out of Africa
This book reads a bit like a long, hot, humid dream. Shand did a nice job creating a sense of being an outsider, focusing on the white, foreign characters in Uganda during Amin's rise to power. Especially interesting after watching the movie, The Last King of Scotland. I was a bit tired at the end though - so much infidelity, so much heat...
Jul 19, 2015 rated it liked it
I thought her writing was extremely visual and you were literally transported to Africa(Kampala Uganda) like one of the exotic paintings in the story. The story about relationships, is as messy and complicated as the political scene at the time. I kept wanting to know more about what would happen and about Africa itself. . .
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