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Malcolm was born in the shadow of a disabled sister. His family’s preoccupation with her condition establishes and reinforces in him a chronic inability to show emotion and share his experiences.
The opportunity to work in Kenya offers the prospect of escaping this background to create a more fulfilling life.
His new life is lived in colourful surroundings with cosmopolitan inhabitants, his new surroundings on an agricultural research station upcountry from Nairobi revealing a new world. Meeting his new employer and his wife, his working colleagues and neighbours, his domestic employee, a precocious village boy, an African foreman, a coffee farmer, and an Irish priest whose church serves the local village, each interaction with them seems to gradually free him from his past.
And just as Malcolm is trying to free himself from a damaging past, so the country in which he now lives is trying to shake off its colonial legacy.
Is this Malcolm’s chance of emotional security, a break from a bleak past? Does he live happily thereafter, or does life have a cruel twist in store?
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