Wednesday, 16 February 2011

"The Great Karoo" by Fred Stenson (review)

I'm not a big fan of historical fiction. Actually, I avoid it like the plague. I'm thinking that from my years working in book stores and then as a librarian, I have questioned and been a bit frustrated by the curiously vast numbers of history books in the world. I'm not a history fan and I guess this has unfairly set my sights away from history and anything historical.

But I selected this among many others through the Early Reviewers List way back in 2008 primarily because it was a work of fiction about Canadians. And I received it. This has been the only work that I've received (so far).

Although I read it right away, I put off writing a review for a long time mostly because I wasn't sure what to make of the book. Then, recently, I thought to myself, "I wish I could get another 'Early Reviewer' book. I'd better write that review." So I read it again.

I was pleasantly surprised. This is a very good book. Although it is a work of historical fiction (starting in 1899, following a Canadian soldier sent to Africa to support Britain in the Boer War), this is a character study of Frank Adams, a naive young cowboy who makes and breaks connections to people during his time in Africa, for good or for bad. But, as with most stories about war, it is a commentary on our fascination with war, with the dangers of thinking too highly of being a soldier, and how painfully gruesome and wearing war really is. I think the moral of the story is, "Don't go to war. And if you have to, keep your head down and stay out of war's way as best you can."

I'm glad I read it. And I'm glad I own it. I may read it a third time. So I guess I'm going to have to rethink my stance on historical fiction.

Buy "The Great Karoo" by Fred Stenson through Amazon or read about it through LibraryThing.

[ Reviewed for LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program ]

1 comment:

Melanie said...

Ah, I remember that book. I may have to borrow it :)