Book Club: Absent. The English Teacher by John Eppel

Absent. The English Teacher by John Eppel

ISBN: 9781779220820
Published: 2009
Formats: Paperback, eBook

About the book:

‘When George J. George mistook his white Ford Escort for the moon, he knew his time was up.’ When Mr George loses his job teaching English at a private secondary school in Bulawayo, ‘his pension payout, after forty years of full-time service, bought him two jam doughnuts and a soft tomato.’ When he backs his uninsured white Ford Escort into a brand new Mercedes Benz, the out-of-court settlement sees him giving up his house to the complainant, Beauticious Nyamayakanuna, and becoming her domestic servant.

When Mr George loses his job teaching English at a private secondary school in Bulawayo, ‘his pension payout, after forty years of full-time service, bought him two jam doughnuts and a soft tomato.’ When he backs his uninsured white Ford Escort into a brand new Mercedes Benz, the out-of-court settlement sees him giving up his house to the complainant, Beauticious Nyamayakanuna, and becoming her domestic servant.

Through the prism of this engaging post-colonial role reversal, and spiced with George’s lessons on Shakespeare, John Eppel draws down the curtain on one particular white man in Africa.

But before it’s time to go, George will delight us with the antics of his literature classes; his various arrests – all timed to coincide with the police chief’s need for help with essays on Hamlet and A Grain of Wheat; his keen eye for flora and fauna; and the long trek back through the hundred years of his family’s Zimbabwean past, as he returns an abandoned child to her home.

Eppel has satirized the racial politics of southern Africa in many of his previous novels. In Absent: The English Teacher he turns his gaze inwards for a generous and richly rewarding parody of the land of his birth.

WHERE YOU CAN BUY THE BOOK:

African Books Collective

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