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My Driver [Format Kindle]

Maggie Gee

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Présentation de l'éditeur

Vanessa Henman, a plucky but accident-prone white writer, flies from London to Uganda for an African writers’ conference. She also means to visit her former cleaner, Ugandan Mary Tendo, now the successful Executive Housekeeper of Kampala’s up-market Sheraton Hotel. But Mary has her own agenda: her son Jamil is missing, and she has secretly summoned Vanessa’s beloved ex-husband Trevor, a plumber, to her home village to build a new well. Vanessa sets off alone on safari to distant Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to see the mountain gorillas. But she quarrels with her driver and a bloody war closes in on Bwindi from Congo. Can anyone save her? Will Mary Tendo find her son? ‘One of her strongest novels to date…fast-moving, energetic, constantly surprising’ Hilary Mantel ‘Maggie Gee has never written better’ Rose Tremain ‘A tour de force – brilliantly structured, surprising, humane, and suspenseful’ Elaine Showalter ‘Brilliant…just brilliant…this book deserves to be published in every language’ Hillary Jordan 'Executed with a lovely, light touch ... an immensely enjoyable novel.' Lionel Shriver, Daily Telegraph 'Worldy, witty, enjoyable, impressive' Doris Lessing 'Sparky, funny and terrifically entertaining' Guardian

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 674 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 344 pages
  • Editeur : Telegram Books (19 avril 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B007XF8PXO
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°72.799 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Amazon.com: 5.0 étoiles sur 5  4 commentaires
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Another feast of a book from Maggie Gee 22 novembre 2010
Par Ralph Blumenau - Publié sur Amazon.com
This is the sequel to Maggie Gee's magnificent `My Cleaner'. (See my Amazon review). Again we meet the writer, the insecure Vanessa Henman and the Ugandan Mary Tendo. The last novel was set in England, and ended with Mary, who had worked in Vanessa's home looking after her son Justin, returning to Uganda. This novel is set in Uganda three years later, in 2007.

Vanessa has been invited (at the last moment? She is not as well-known as she thought or thinks she ought to be) by the British Council to attend a Writers' Conference in Kampala. Mary has married again and has a three-year old daughter, but she still grieves at having lost touch with Jamil, the son of her first marriage: neither she nor her first husband know where he is or whether he is alive or dead. Before she had worked for Vanessa, Mary had been in charge of the laundry at the Nile Hotel; but she is now Executive Housekeeper at the Sheraton hotel in which the conference is taking place. Vanessa did not know that, nor that Vanessa's plumber ex-husband Trevor (who really comes splendidly into his own in this novel) was due in Kampala because Mary, who had got on so well with him when she was in England, had persuaded him to travel out to Uganda to repair, for free, a broken well in her home village. The plotting of this novel relies on several scarcely credible coincidences and on missed encounters - a bit like an 18th century comic opera, with the denouement long delayed - though when it comes, the denouement, a real roller-coaster of emotions, is not comic at all.

The descriptions of the writers' conference are hilarious, even if that kind of thing has been done before; and it brings out all of Vanessa's tortured insecurity and her mood swings from self-satisfaction to self-doubt.

Mary, on her home ground, has lost quite a bit of the charm she had in the previous volume: she has become bossy, hectoring, and lecturing Trevor, a thoroughly unimperialist person, about the wrongs of the British Empire and of other exploiters of Uganda. But she is still a strong and memorable character.

The descriptions of Uganda, its townscapes and its landscapes, its people and its weather, its flora and its fauna, are wonderfully vivid: Maggie Gee knows the country very well (though it is a bit irritating that from time to time she gives us snatches of Luganda without translating them). More than in the previous volume we are also made aware of the political background: the rule of Museveni (M7 for short) which, though not as horrendous as that of Idi Amin or Milton Obote beforehand, is still oppressive, corrupt and, as far as the Acholi in the North are concerned, murderous. There is violence in the neighboring Congo and in the remoter parts of Uganda, where the brutal Lord's Resistance Army with its brutalized child-soldiers and other guerilla groups are still active. Ugandan troops are moving to the border as another war threatens between Uganda and the Congo, basically over oil and the safe haven that the Lords Resistance Army has in the Congo.

And Vanessa has planned, after the Conference is over, to go on safari to see the gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, which abuts the border with the Congo. Her experiences there swing from the nightmarish to the ecstatic and back to the nightmarish. On edge, she had been grossly insulting to the driver she had hired to take her there - but is he the driver to whom the title of the book refers?
2 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Her Best Yet: A Joy to Read 28 juin 2009
Par James Shelby Tucker Jr. - Publié sur Amazon.com
My introduction to this author's writing was The White Family. My next encounter with her work was The Flood, reviewing which, I said, `Fellow authors will envy Maggie Gee her talent.' My Cleaner followed, prompting me to state: `Maggie Gee has secured a place in English letters that will survive our time.' Implausibly, My Driver is even better--so `impressive', as Doris Lessing observes, that I scarcely know where to start.

She depicts a moment in the intersecting lives of Vanessa Henman and her not so estranged Ex, Trevor, Mary Tendo and her kabite husband, Charles, against the background of modern, war-blighted Uganda. `Here's Vanessa. Like grass in the wind, dry grass; straw. A chemical yellow, half a lifetime too late for the blonde of childhood, and her teeth are too white.' Nevertheless, she is complacent. The British Council has invited her to a writers conference in Kampala, a recognition of her literary opus, obviously--two novels published in the 80s. She has written nothing since, save a few pages of autobiography. And Trevor is `obviously the right person' to drive her to the airport. She expects an `upgrade' on the flight. `If you could do anything ... well known writer ... British Council.'

Vanessa's upgrade was denied, and her flight bag wouldn't fit in the overhead locker. She had to unpack and repack it on the floor, `in full view of everyone'. She regrets her choice of underwear. `Those pants looked distinctly grey, and the light in the cabin was very harsh.' ... `Cabin crews to positions for landing.' ... As the baggage hall empties, `she learns how much she loves her suitcase', which is last on the carousel. The Sheraton coach leaves without her. `Ah, sorry. But the other guests, they sometimes do not like to wait.' She engages a `special taxi, a taxi for one person, as opposed to ordinary taxis, which hold lots of people, vegetables, chickens.'

Mary Tendo is also complacent and writing a autobiography. She has catapulted to the post of Executive Housekeeper at the Sheraton, having made `the great move from the village to the town, from the unwritten past into the urbane future.' She has an office and a computer, and now thinks of Vanessa, `who once loomed so large, as small, and old'. She rings Trevor and asks him to `help her to mend' a well in her village, rebuffing his misgivings with `We talked about it when I was in London. So that is settled.' Vanessa was not to know, because `she might want to come with him.' Mary's kabite `is a very sweet man, good at fetching and carrying despite his small size,' and is not to be jealous. `I need a car,' she informs him. `Why should I travel in these dirty taxis? There were fifteen people, or maybe twenty, all sneezing and one doing something worse.' `Perhaps I could buy you a car for your birthday,' he replies. `Charles, that is wonderful! Yes, I agree.' So, that night, she was `very kind to' him.

The author's sparkling wit goes on and on. There is no Mr Darcy, Prince Andrei, Jane Eyre or Dorothea in this novel, yet we see in Vanessa, Trevor, Mary Tendo and Charles the universal longing for a hero. There are no romantic transports, but imbedded in tender, always subtle detail is a story of the enduring love at the threshold of their autumnal years. My Driver is the work of an entirely professional writer, completely in charge of her craft, witty, perceptive, always interesting, a joy to read.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 great characters 17 août 2013
Par Closet Romantic - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle
I read and enjoyed My Cleaner which introduced the main players in this book. As with the first book Maggie Gee writes very astute observations of relationships, angst and racial differences. It was good to follow the characters of Cleaner into their Ugandan adventure. I would recommend this book as a stand alone but it would be good to read My Cleaner first. I am looking forward to reading more of Ms Gee's books.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 bookworm oz 23 mai 2013
Par Smartmum - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
enjoyed this especially as already familiar with major characters from her novel[My Cleaner]...Especially enjoyed the sly observations of academics/academia and the hapless Ms Henman..
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