Heart of Darkness and Lust for Life collide as the Cold War in Africa gets hot. Lara, the artist, loves both Oscar, a suave, older entrepreneur, and owner of the Tin Heart Gold Mine and Tim, a journalist seeking truth.
This is a dramatic story, about vibrant, intriguing characters passionate about art, love, the making of money and the African bush, whose lives become entangled in war and politics. How well do we ever know the people we love? The Tin Heart Gold Mine opens in 1985 with Lara and Oscar, lovers in the wilderness of Chambeshi, surrounded by beauty and hidden danger. It immediately switches to London in 1988, where Lara’s past love for Oscar is threatening her marriage to Tim. He leaves for Africa on a journalistic assignment, furious because Oscar has left Lara valuable paintings. It is possible that Oscar, not Tim, may be the father of Lara’s son – but Tim wants to be his sole provider.
A traumatized Lara starts therapy. How has her passionate commitment to art trapped her in this situation? Lara began her career as a wildlife artist in Chambeshi where she met Tim and Oscar at her art exhibition. Tim and Lara become friends, whilst Oscar commissions art from her and promises employment at the Tin Heart Gold Mine. Lara is fascinated and curious about Oscar. They become lovers. Lara finds first-hand how colonialism and the Cold War are causing civil war in Chambeshi. Tim’s investigations into Oscar’s work make him distrust the man and his political ambitions, and he tries to warn Lara. Neither knows how dark and deep Oscar’s plan for his survival is, where it will lead or the violence that Lara will have to physically endure at Oscar’s hands...
The Tin Heart Gold Mine is a fast-moving novel, providing an intense portrayal of an artist’s life in London and painting the landscape and politics of an African country in colourful and truthful detail. It will appeal to fans of contemporary fiction, as well as those who enjoyed Ruth’s first novel, The Shaping of Water.