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The Shadow of the Sun af Ryszard Kapuscinski

The Shadow of the Sun (original 1998; udgave 2002)

af Ryszard Kapuscinski

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
2,022507,601 (4.22)80
I litterr̆e reportager fortl̆ler den polske udenrigs- og krigskorrespondent bl.a. om Ghana, Etiopien, Rwanda, Idi Amin, stammekrige, hede, sult, sygdom og nomadelivet samt om de mennesker han md̜er p ̄sine rejser gennem Afrika.
Titel:The Shadow of the Sun
Forfattere:Ryszard Kapuscinski
Info:Vintage (2002), Paperback, 325 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek

Work Information

Ibenholt : afrikanske rejser af Ryszard KAPUŚCIŃSKI (Author) (1998)


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Engelsk (39)  Spansk (5)  Italiensk (2)  Fransk (2)  Hollandsk (1)  Græsk (1)  Alle sprog (50)
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  archivomorero | May 21, 2023 |
The marriage of a persistent stream of lucid writing with flashes of genuine insight makes Ryszard Kapuściński's The Shadow of the Sun a treat, and one of the more original travel books I have read. Many travel books – particularly those about Africa – can't resist a sort of fawning orientalism, a fetishization of the 'dark continent' that presents it either as a hellish wasteland of rape and war or a vibrant, drum-playing kumbaya that puts the stolid West to shame. Perhaps Kapuściński is too worldly-wise, or too good a writer for untruths to survive in his prose, but The Shadow of the Sun manages to resist the allure of these fetishes and is bracingly realistic about Africa.

Kapuściński maintains a good balance between the two extremes. He can wax lyrical about the continent's treasures, but doesn't shy away from its poisons either; nowhere is this better shown than in the chapter on Rwanda (pp165-82), which remarks upon the beauty of the Rwandan mountains (pg. 170) but also gives an excellent summary of the tribal animosities that led to the appalling Rwandan genocide. And while Kapuściński is willing to discuss the very real effects of colonialism on the continent, he does not fall into the self-hating Western panacea of blaming all of Africa's problems on the white man's predation. The freed African-American slaves who returned to found Liberia established a caste system which enslaved the natives. The mountainous Rwanda, he notes, was largely untouched by the 18th- and 19th-century slave trade which impacted the plains societies; the murderous rancour between Hutu and Tutsi was something they generated themselves.

Kapuściński eulogises the immediate colours of the African dawn, but is also unperturbed about documenting some of the societies' self-defeating behaviours – for example, the unpaid airport staff who make their money from corruption, and so steal Kapuściński's travel documents upon arrival so he must buy them back from them (pg. 236). Another good example of this is the following observation: "If a tree trunk falls across the road, it will not be removed; people will go around it, onto the adjoining field, and eventually beat out a new road" (pg. 259). Endurance and a stoical determination, but also a short-termism that ensures the future will ultimately have the same unresolved problems as the present.

For all the criticism of Kapuściński that he may have invented or embellished certain stories, on a more fundamental level of writing he refuses to editorialise. The willingness to people his book with the idle "gapers of the world" (pg. 138) as well as with industrious and philosophical Africans gives you a sense of Africa that, you suspect, is a closer approximation of the truth. In one of his most astute observations in the book, he notes that when cultures meet it is not always in the best of circumstances, and "first contacts… were most frequently carried out by the worst sorts of people: robbers, soldiers of fortune, adventurers, criminals, slave traders". Such encounters set the tone, and naturally "respect for other cultures, a desire to learn about them, to find a common language, were the furthest things from the minds of such folk" (pg. 321). Kapuściński laments that this "cultural monopoly of crude know-nothings" (pg. 322) has had such a deep and destructive impact on our world but, in spending his own thoughtful words on the matter in The Shadow of the Sun, he has done what he can to try to break that monopoly. ( )
  MikeFutcher | Dec 7, 2022 |
This is an outstanding book. I wholly endorse what is says on the back cover of my edition: "... encompasses forty years of incisive and moving reportage about Africa by one of the world's greatest journalists. ... [the author] captures the sights, sounds, smells and, above all, the real lives of this vast continent. Poetic and profound, this dazzling travelogue has been acclaimed as one of the most significant works on Africa." ( )
  lestermay | Oct 18, 2022 |
Clave para entender algo de Africa. El cuento sobre los leones y los esclavos es increíble. ( )
  Alvaritogn | Jul 1, 2022 |
It may be difficult not to love this man, yet his books about Africa are rather ethnocentric with plenty of condescending paternalism in it.

Kapuscinski has charm. He is a romantic. He appreciates how small, everyday acts of kindness can form the basis of a good story. Yet his tendency to exaggerate, generalize and sensationalize in a superficial way reflects his journalistic gaze, which scans for the exceptional, news-worthy at the expense of a full understanding, a complete picture, a critical take on ‘the obvious’.

Often one is tempted to shout out – Man! Start reading some books! For instance when he claims that apartheid was invented by Boers in South Africa (correct) and next observes that you can see it anywhere in Africa (not quite correct). How about reading some stuff about Lord Lugard and the British system of dual rule? Ever heard of segregation, British style? How about Mamdani’s book on Citizen and subject?

Yet in mediation for this blatant ignorance, Kapuscinski can be unconventional and charming in taking on old debates. For instance when he is accused of being white and thus guilty of suppressing Africans, robbing their countries blind, his response is – Why, me? ‘You were colonized? We, Poles, were also! For one hundred and thirty years we were a colony of three foreign powers. White ones, too.’. That’s Kapuscinski’s charm and humour. Interpersonally he must have been a joy to interact or work with.

The part of African society he has very well understood is the importance of social relations and exchange of gifts (sometimes of a very different order: something of symbolic value can be exchanged with something of material value). The story about the hole in Onitsha, I like best. Here Kapuscinski reveals something that few people realize: the emergent nature of buzzing activity, and the tendency to help fate a bit, if one can. Basically in the story Kapuscinski creates suspense by telling us about the nature and joy of open markets in Africa, of which the one in Onitsha, Nigeria, is purportedly the biggest. Driving there, Kapuscinski gets stuck in a long traffic jam. He walks ahead to assess what is blocking the (only) road to the market: a big hole, in which trucks and cars get stuck in the mud, and have to be hauled out by groups of young men (for a fee). Around this very hole a hive of activities occurs – street sellers making a buck, young men ganging up to be the next team to make a buck with hauling out cars, news collectors, everybody coalesces around the hole. Kapuscinski assesses the pace, and decides to turn back: it will take him three days to make it through the hole that separates him from this famous market place. He returns but not without catching the butt of the story: the hole moves, every now and then it appears in a different neighbourhood, thus spreading wealth and activity across different parts of town. ( )
  alexbolding | Dec 9, 2021 |
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As literature, “The Shadow of the Sun” is in its way magnificent. As analysis, it can be strange. Mr Kapuscinski's account of Idi Amin's rule is inaccurate and his history of Rwanda is botched. Mysteriously, he travels from Djibouti to Gondar by way of Ndjamena: two sides of a huge triangle. Mr Kapuscinski tells it as it felt, rather than as it was, describing—sometimes, it seems, distastefully relishing—whatever is bizarre, humiliating, disgusting, exotic.
tilføjet af Serviette | RedigerThe Economist (Jun 28, 2001)
The word 'reportage' appears twice in the jacket endorsements of this fine narrative study of African events and people, of African conditions and geography, by Ryszard Kapuscinski. According to John le Carré, Kapuscinski is the 'conjurer extraordinary of modern reportage'. According to Michael Ignatieff, who is no slouch in the same department, he has raised reportage 'to the status of literature'.
tilføjet af Serviette | RedigerThe Guardian, Ian Jack (Jun 3, 2001)
He is lyrically succinct - in the stupor of noon a village was "like a submarine at the bottom of the ocean: it was there, but it emitted no signals, soundless, motionless" - and often hysterically funny.
tilføjet af mikeg2 | RedigerThe Guardian, Geoff Dyer (Jun 2, 2001)
Ryszard Kapuscinski has led an extraordinary life. Born in 1932 in the marshlands of eastern Poland and raised in poverty, he became, in the 1950's, Poland's most celebrated foreign correspondent. For decades he roamed the globe on a laughably tight budget, living mostly in Africa, Asia and Latin America, filing stories for the Polish press agency PAP. It was a hairy beat. According to his American publisher, Kapuscinski ''witnessed 27 coups and revolutions; and was sentenced to death four times.''
Mr. Kapuscinski never loses his affection for the people whose lives he witnesses or his awe at the magnificence of the African spectacle, its oceanic size and variety, the beauty of its landscapes, the heavy weight of its patience and its spirituality. But as the vignettes roll on one after the other, Africa, in Mr. Kapuscinski's version of it, becomes ever more afflicted, more of a disaster. We do not learn in this book what happened in Ghana after the first hopeful years, or what became of Mr. Baako, but in his fragmentary, episodic way, Mr. Kapuscinski shows a continent sliding into governmental gangsterism, dependence on foreign aid, murderous tyrannies and urban populations with nothing to do.

» Tilføj andre forfattere (18 mulige)

Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
KAPUŚCIŃSKI, RyszardForfatterprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
幸雄, 工藤Oversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
CHMIELIK, TomaszOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Glowczewska, KlaraOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Mansberger Amorós, RobertoOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Orzeszek, AgataOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Pollack, MartinOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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I litterr̆e reportager fortl̆ler den polske udenrigs- og krigskorrespondent bl.a. om Ghana, Etiopien, Rwanda, Idi Amin, stammekrige, hede, sult, sygdom og nomadelivet samt om de mennesker han md̜er p ̄sine rejser gennem Afrika.

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