So Little to Go On is a novel with an unusual and ingenious double plot, skilfully crafted. An international group of sixteen passengers, almost half of whom are returning from a conference, are marooned in a small African air strip as a result of a political coup. They tell stories to pass the time. An archaeologist begins with an anecdote referring to the uncertain roots of ancient cave paintings. The following morning they set off for a several day walk to the border in an attempt to flee encroaching danger. They continue telling stories about the imagined origins of cave art. The story-telling is punctuated by alarming incidents in the framing plot. Each speaker constructs a different version of events. They have so little to go on.
by Mary Searle-Chatterjee
I’m quite a critical reader of fiction now, as there are only so many plots. I really liked the simple plot in this book where an unlikely group of people from a wide range of backgrounds are forced to set off on a long trek to avoid the danger of a sudden military coup. Each of the disparate members of the group agrees to tell a story around cave paintings.
What’s fascinating about this book is the range and depth of the stories, beautifully told, but each relevant to today’s world. I was mesmerised by the fertility of ideas - feminism, climate change, political theory....
A finely crafted novel which is to be savoured in bite sized pieces.
by Janette Rutterford