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Reviews -- Travel --- Africa
Crystal (Bliss) Sloan
(sloan @ ertin.com)
  • "In Griot Time"-- A MAJOR TRAVEL LITERATURE EVENT!  Lovers of V. S. Naipaul's nonfiction will delight in a new book on travel in Africa, "In Griot Time: An American Guitarist in Mali."  Written by a former student of Naipaul, Banning Eyre of National Public Radio and Boston Phoenix fame, this astonishingly good book rivals and even surpasses Naipaul in the very areas Naipaul excels.  The writing recalls Naipaul's best, with a fresh new vibrance, yet mature with a quiet, intelligent masculinity, reflecting Eyre's years of magazine and newspaper work.  The Canadian Eyre masterfully takes the best of his teacher's legacy, then expands it, using his relative youth and considerable musical skills to show us a fascinating view of travel not as a writer or tourist but as a working musician and student of Malian styles, a view requiring a stamina and persona more reminiscent of Hemingway than Naipaul.   Eyre lived seven months in Mali, studying native guitar styles with the nation's greatest guitarists.  His vivid prose will carry you deep into Africa, where you will live those months along with him, seeing the land, learning its history, getting to know its people, and, with the companion CD available soon, even hearing its music. Eyre is truly an exciting and important new voice in travel literature.  The first printing is already on backorder; one can only hope that the publisher quickly produces a second printing.  Read it if you can. NOT TO BE MISSED.   
    cover of Banning Eyre's new book In Griot Time: An American Guitarist in Mali

    Order it at Amazon.com:
    In Griot Time : An American Guitarist in Mali
    Author: Banning Eyre
    Paperback - 280 pages (May 2000)
    Temple University Press
    ISBN: 566397596
    Subjects: Travel, Africa, Mali, Music
    Average Customer Review at Amazon: 5 out of 5 stars


[Note: A modified form of this review has subsequently been posted at Amazon.com.] 

About the reviewer: Bliss Sloan has been reviewing books on topics of interest to her readers on AOL for the past several years.

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