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Facing the Congo: A Modern-Day Journey into the Heart of Darkness (2000)

– tekijä: Jeffrey Tayler

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
208698,822 (3.51)2
At thirty-three one's direction in life should be clear, and mine was not.' In search of some direction, or at least a new challenge, Jeffrey Tayler gave up his day job of opening rejection letters from publishers and went exploring. Having always been fascinated by Africa and the great age of Victorian exploration he went to Kinshasa in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and found a boat to take him up-river to Kisangani, deep in the heart of the jungle. Not content with that, he then bought a pirogue (a kind of canoe), hired a guide and set out to paddle the 1,000 miles back to Kinshasa. A personal journey, an intrepid voyage, an exceptionally well-written travelogue: FACING THE CONGO is all these things and more. A wonderfully vivid and exciting read for armchair adventurers everywhere.… (lisätietoja)
Africa (166)
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 6) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
In 2010 I found myself, for three days, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I was travelling down the West African coast with Oasis Overland, and we had been diverted through Brazzaville and Kinshasa as a result of a terrorist attack during the African Cup of Nations that year. Three days - and that was a struggle for me. The air in the capital felt heavy with subdued anger and violence. I was never at ease, and beyond that I was also ill, probably with dengue fever or malaria, there was no way to tell for sure since there were no doctors we could visit. Though I was glad to escape the country as quickly as we did, I look back now with regret tinged golden with nostalgia - I wish I had seen more, been conscious of more, and recorded more in my notebook.

A little over a decade prior to my visit, Jeffrey Tayler was in the DRC, or Zaire as it was then known. Like me, Mr Tayler was just into his thirties and was going through something of a crisis. He left Russia, the country he had almost settled in, as I had left Poland; he wanted to challenge himself, to see what his life was and what it meant, and for that challenge, like I would later do, he turned to Africa.

'Facing the Congo' is the story of Mr Tayler's experience in Zaire. He travelled by barge up the Congo from Kinshasa to Kisangani, from where he wished to navigate back to the capital aboard a pirogue. The journey was fraught with peril, and ends much like Geoffrey Moorhouse's classic 'The Fearful Void,' with the adventurer realising that the challenge is an insurmountable one. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Apr 18, 2020 |
The premise sounds really exciting; a white man wants to canoe down the Congo River through the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the Atlantic. And while there are some exciting moments on his trip, as a whole "Facing the Congo" was a bit flat.

The set-up, explaining how dangerous the trip would be, the author taking a large commuter ship up the Congo (and his interactions with other passengers) and organising the trip all felt like the book was leading up into something great but the actual pirogue trip wasn't the pay off I was hoping for. ( )
  MiaCulpa | Jan 23, 2020 |
I was tempted to simply rate it a single star. Around 2000-2004 I read several books about Africa, ranging from contemporary conflicts to the legacies of colonialism, texts like Philip Gourevich's We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed, Scott Peterson's Me Against My Brother and The Zanzibar Chest by Aidan Hartley.

Mr. Tayler's book shares only a locale with those masterful narratives. He is a poor writer. He incessantly moans and offers no context nor erudition. I had seen the book before at the library and found it yesterday for a dollar. Maybe I regarded the situation as antipodal to Vollmann's experience above the Arctic Cicrle. Whatever. It was a mistake. ( )
1 ääni jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
Jeffrey Tayler is simply one of the best travel writers out there for people who want reality rather than romance. In this book, which I think is his best, he questions his own motives and finds some less than delightful answers, but his observations of others are clear and genuine. ( )
  kaitanya64 | Jan 4, 2017 |
What is it with modern travelogues by people who don't accomplish their missions? This was like the third book like this that I read this year. Okay, sure, Tayler's mission to paddle down the incredibly dangerous and volatile Congo was stupid in the first place, but still. Do it or don't, you pansy. ( )
1 ääni AlCracka | Apr 2, 2013 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 6) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)

At thirty-three one's direction in life should be clear, and mine was not.' In search of some direction, or at least a new challenge, Jeffrey Tayler gave up his day job of opening rejection letters from publishers and went exploring. Having always been fascinated by Africa and the great age of Victorian exploration he went to Kinshasa in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and found a boat to take him up-river to Kisangani, deep in the heart of the jungle. Not content with that, he then bought a pirogue (a kind of canoe), hired a guide and set out to paddle the 1,000 miles back to Kinshasa. A personal journey, an intrepid voyage, an exceptionally well-written travelogue: FACING THE CONGO is all these things and more. A wonderfully vivid and exciting read for armchair adventurers everywhere.

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