I snagged this one at a bargain ($2!!) and it turned out to be a gem of a novel. The Curve of the World is the ultimate survival story.
An aircraft, on its way to South Africa, encounters a blown engine and has to make an emergency landing in the middle of the Congo, an area which has suffered from civil war, political unrest and corruption, since before anyone can remember.
The plane is hijacked by militants and before long, the passengers lose hope. All but one. One who decides he’s not going to die this way, not staring through the gun barrel. He escapes and ventures into the virgin land, with nothing but his wallet, passport, novel and the clothes on his back. There he is rescued by a Congolese boy who helps him, more than he could have ever asked for.
On the other side of the world, his estranged family’s life is turned upside down following a phone call from the U.S. embassy. Her brave decision to leave her ailing mother and take her blind son to Kinshasa is inspirational. After a brief encounter with the U.S. embassy, she decides to take it in her own hands to find her husband. Armed with U.S. dollars and her son’s endless belief that his father is still alive, she engages a local to help her through the bureaucracy and vast land to find the truth.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of my visits to Kinshasa while I was working in the DRC. It was, and still is, the shittiest place I’ve ever been to. Literally. The streets are littered with rubbish piling up to 2 meters high, there are potholes left right and centre and people are EVERYWHERE and fill every possible bit of real estate. However shit the place was/is, the kindness of the people made up for it.
A must read (and a lovely addition to the travel collection)!
[Disclaimer: I am affiliated with The Book Depository and will gain a commission if you decide to buy the book. Thanking you in advance if you do. No obligations.]