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Hello to the Cannibals

3.15  ·  Rating details ·  134 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
At first, all Lily Austin knows about 19th–century explorer Mary Kingsley is that, 100 years before, she was the first white woman to venture into the heart of Africa. But as Lily begins reading about Mary Kingsley, she becomes more and more fascinated – and discovers in Mary a kindred spirit.

In her own life, Lily feels trapped – on the one hand, she craves family and inti
Paperback, 688 pages
Published September 2nd 2003 by Harper Perennial (first published 2002)
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Marlee Pinsker
Dec 21, 2010 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 21, 2009 rated it did not like it
While parts of this novel are beautiful to read, especially description, the characters just never really come to life; I ended up not caring all that much what happens to Lily, the heroine. Most of the book felt like a badly rehearsed play, with scenes running far too long and the actors making the wrong entrances and exits and missing their cues.

It could have been much shorter, given how little actually happens on the page. First person was a poor choice for point of view for a work this long,
Ayelet Waldman
I hereby declare a moratorium on men of a certain age writing from the point of view of young women. I will not allow it anymore, because those of us who are women (even if the fact that we are approaching our fortieth birthday with terrifying inexorability precludes us from calling ourselves young) find too many embarrassing mistakes, the kind of things that make us fling a novel across the room in frustration. Plus--enough with the shifting time periods. Unless they are really and truly relate ...more
Suzanne Cooper
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found this book to be a very enjoyable adventure. Lily & especially Mary captivated me with the telling of their story. A woman, alone, in the mid to late 1800's England did not have a lively assortment of choices. But Mary Kingsley set that norm on it's ear! Daring to enter deepest Africa, repeatedly, visiting people who had never seen Europeans is brave beyond belief! Trained to hardship by growing up nursing her invalid parents, she took those skills & not only survived her African ...more
Oct 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: h
So disappointing. Mary Kingsley's account, Travels in West Africa, is a gem of humor, kindness, and fortitude. Sadly, Hello to the Cannibals has none of these qualities, especially the humor. Instead, the author focuses on the melancholy inner life of its characters, while never quite making them real. Mary Kingsley leaps off the page in her own writing, but in this book, she's flat and dull, and her modern counterpart is yet another whiny girl. I wanted to love this book, but I couldn't even li ...more
Debra Waites
Long, laborious, I did not enjoy it. Could not connect with the characters. Could it be because it is about two women but written by a man? I have not felt in my life a strong feminist strain, but I do not feel the author caught the inner workings of these two women.
Shannon Saffell
Apr 12, 2018 rated it liked it
It was well written, but I wish the transitions between Lily and Mary were more defined. I also wanted to know more about Lily as her story progressed, but it seemed like telling Mary's story was more important. I enjoyed it, but I won't reread it; it's how I decide whether to pass along or keep.
Dec 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read combining interweaved stories one based on historical figure and a young woman seeking to find her way in the world a hundred years apart.
Mar 20, 2010 rated it it was ok
Hello to the Cannibals. Richard Bausch. 2002. Harper Collins. 661 pages.

Hello to the Cannibals by Richard Bausch is such an expansive book and took me awhile to read, and I definitely wouldn't do it again. The synopsis of Hello to the Cannibals is much more interesting than what it actually turned out to be.

Hello to the Cannibals is about a young woman named Lily Austin who is mature, intelligent, and incredibly insightful for her age. At her 14th birthday party, Lily receives a biography about
Alyssa Greatbanks
May 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
The story was pretty slow at first(then for the rest of the book), but shortly in to it the main character, Lily, was molested by a friend's grandparent. After that, seeing the horror that she was feeling, I figured it would be a book where she had to overcome the memories of it and find herself again. Nope.

Lily was a rather infuriating character, mainly because she did almost nothing about any current situation. She just went along with whatever was going on. Not only that, but the play she was
Aug 15, 2010 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook, fiction
The intertwined stories of a young college student, struggling with her identity, and Mary Kingsley, a 19th century woman explorer in Africa, were an interesting combination. The student who leaves school right before graduation works on a play about Mary Kingsley to carry her through a variety of family disappointments and a brief marriage. Despite her success in completing the play, and despite a reconciliation with her family, the ending never really seemed to resolve the story in a satisfact ...more
Nov 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
Book jacket emphasized the historical aspects of the book as incorporating the life of Mary Kingsley into the story. Much of the book however, is the primary story of how Lily Austin relates to Mary Kingsley as she tries to pull herself out of a major depression triggered by her parents divorce. At 661 pages, this was too slow paced for my taste. Just when more excerpts from Mary Kingleys' life were forthcoming, my tolerance for the length of the book flagged, and I skimmed over the second half ...more
Aug 12, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished
Ugh. I can't finish this book -- the historical part featuring Mary Kingsley was slightly interesting, but when I read the author's afterward saying that he made up a good percentage of that story, I really couldn't stomach it anymore. As for the modern-day part... well, I wasn't moved to even begin to care about Lily and Tyler and the soap opera that was their life. This one is going back to the book swap whence it came.
Mar 09, 2008 rated it liked it
I couldn't really put this book down while I was reading it. It may overlap something of a chick-flick-like genre, but the characters are well developed and Bausch noted Chekov's advice: don't forget the weather.

Apr 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-lust
Lily's life is transformed after receiving a book on women explorers and learning about the life of Mary Kingsley. The reader gets to see the views of both Lily and Mary. Very interesting. Can get a little slow at times, but overall a good read.
Aug 10, 2012 rated it liked it
The history is absorbing. Mary is wonderful. Lily, not so much.
Jun 07, 2007 rated it it was ok
I really liked the present-day narrative and really disliked the historical one. I didn't finish. But I think Bausch has some really great storytelling skills so I'm going to try another one by him.
Suzanne Moore
May 05, 2010 marked it as to-read
Shelves: companion-reads
Victorian explorer, Mary Kingsley
Love Mary Kingsley, but couldn't find her soon enough in this, I'll try again in a few months.
Steven Monrad
Jan 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels
Story within a story, women's point of view
too psychological for me
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Read this a long time ago - great story of the first woman to explore Africa - it would be an interesting companion piece to "Things Fall Apart."
Beth Shields-Szostak
Jun 22, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: signed
1st edition, signed & inscribed by author
Ron Antonucci
rated it liked it
Oct 14, 2016
rated it it was ok
May 22, 2010
Ruth Conrad
rated it it was amazing
Feb 22, 2008
rated it did not like it
Jul 09, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Sep 24, 2012
rated it liked it
Oct 14, 2014
rated it really liked it
Jun 29, 2007
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An acknowledged master of the short story form, Richard Bausch's work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Harper's, The New Yorker, Narrative, Gentleman's Quarterly. Playboy, The Southern Review, New Stories From the South, The Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories, and The Pushcart Prize Stories; and they have been widely anthologized, including The Granta Book of the Ame ...more
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