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In the vast space of East Africa lives a close-knit tribe of expatriates. They all meet at dinner parties; they share the same doctors and eat at the same restaurants; they sleep with each other and take the same drugs. Set in contemporary Nairobi, Rules of the Wild is at once a sharp-eyed dissection of white society in modern Kenya and the moving story of a young woman, Esme, struggling to make sense of her place in Africa, and her feelings for the two men she loves - Adam, a second generation Kenyan who is the first to show her the beauty of her adopted land, and Hunter, a British journalist sickened by its horrors. Romantic, often very funny and always compulsively readable, Rules of the Wild will be recognised as a classic novel about the white man in Africa, a book to set beside Out of Africa and White Mischief

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099274698
ISBN-10: 0099274698
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 19mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 6-May-1999
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » When Esme decides on impulse during a Kenyan safari to leave her rich lover and make a new life for herself there, she is unaware of the big leap of faith it will take for her to reinvent herself as part of the expat community in Africa. Suddenly, her status as a rich, beautiful, Italian 20-something, living off the proceeds of her poet father's royalties, counts for nothing, and she is confronted by the harsh realities of death, wilderness, and macho war correspondents. Esme's struggles are set against the backdrop of an incestuous, sometimes glamorous, sometimes tedious, social life. Wildly romantic and beautifully written. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » A debut that takes us into an Africa where - with Marciano as our guide - we are more likely to come upon Bianca Jagger than Nelson Mandela. "Let's be honest about it," heroine Esme admits early on. "This is a story about white people in Africa. I am not going to pretend that it is anything else." To which it might be helpful to add: not merely white people, but exceptionally bored, chic, and unhappy white people, the sort who snort cocaine in Nairobi restaurants and have trouble remembering whether they've slept with each other. Esme herself fits in nicely: the Manhattan-bred daughter of a renowned Italian poet, she is taken to Kenya on safari after her father's death and quickly decides to stay on. It's not that she falls in love with Africa, exactly - she simply seems to have had her fill of everything else. So, she sends her boyfriend back home and moves in with Adam, the safari guide and big-fame hunter, who takes her on as his assistant and mistress, thereby bringing her into the very narrow confines of the expatriate scene. Here, she makes the rounds, shopping by day and clubbing by night, until she falls for Hunter Reed, a British journalist who covers tribal wars, swills champagne, and tries to expand Esme's horizons a bit. She becomes his lover but is unable to keep up with his needs and his cynicism. Eventually, she goes home to Italy to put him behind her, only to find him on her doorstep in Rome one day. By the time she returns to Africa she knows there's no hope that they can make a life for themselves, but hope, in the end, is beside the point: "It's because of love. Nobody ever moves to Africa for another reason." Idiotic, hackneyed, unbearably pretentious: Marciano's portraits of female vanity and masculine self-absorption would provide the makings of a satire worthy of Waugh - were there even the slightest curl of a smile on her lips. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Francesca Marciano

Francesca Marciano was born in Rome. She worked for Italian television in New York and has written several film scripts. Since 1991 she has lived in Kenya in a house on the Indian Ocean and has made a number of documentary films in Africa. Rules of the Wild is her first novel.

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