What da cover says: Nigel Barley returns to Cameroon on hearing that the elaborate and fearsome Dowayo circumcision ceremony, performed at six or seven year intervals, is about to take place. Yet, like much else in this hilarious book by the author of The Innocent Anthropologist, the circumcision ceremony proves frustratingly elusive, partly because of an extraordinary plague of black, hairy caterpillars.
In the meantime, witchcraft fills the Cameroonian air, a man is lied to by his own foot and an earnest German traveller shows explicit birth-control propaganda to the respectable tribespeople. Beneath the joy and shared laughter in this comic masterpiece lies skilful and wise reflection on the problems facing people of different cultures as they try to understand one another.
What I says: I was expecting a serious book on Anthropology, instead I got a fantastically funny book about an Anthropologist and his mis-adventures whilst living with the Dowayo tribe. He travels to Cameroon to witness the Dowayo circumcision ceremony, which is far more brutal than you could possibly imagine, I cringed big time whilst the procedure was explained. One thing after another the book ends with a mini adventure to finally see if the ceremony is going to go ahead or not.
Each chapter is a short bit on people Nigel meets and apes that he takes to the cinema (the highlight of the book for me). Nigel has great skill at narrating these little episodes and his internal dialogue as he deals with craziness from locals is guaranteed to give the reader a chuckle. At 140 pages I thought this was going to be a weak book but it is just the right length, any longer and it would feel that things were being dragged out.
Yet again Eland Publishing have sourced another great writer to publish.
You can get a copy of the book from HERE.