No Tigers in Africa - A book review

Norman Silver, ''No Tigers in Africa'', novel,
edited by Ernst Klett Schulbuchverlag GmbH, Stuttgart
(first edition: Faber and Faber, London 1994),
annotated by Detlev Gohrbandt

The novel ''No Tigers in Africa'' was written by Norman Silver in 1990. Later this book was first published by ''Faber and Faber'' and edited in London in 1994.
The story takes place in England and describes the life of Selwyn Lewis. He is the protagonist and contrasts his new situation in Bristol with his old life in Joburg situated in South Africa.
The fifteen-year-old boy emigrated with his family, hoping to escape of his guilty past. In fact, Selwyn`s life totally changed. Having South African attitudes caused a lot of problems. Trouble at school is only one example.
Moreover the past haunts Selly. His father killed an African boy because of Selwyn's reaction. Thus his family moved but the guilt stayed. Through the whole story Selly is unable to talk about his worries and his past. In consequence Selwyn`s life becomes worst until it reached the outbreak, the attempted suicide. Fortunatly his attitude improves because of Rosalie. She plays a special role: Selly is in love with her.
Mainly Norman Silver tries to point out the topic of guilt and the changing of things in ones life. In this book the main character gets rid of prejudices concerning the skin colour in the end. So you can see that the autor wants to show that it is nonsense to distinguish. Moreover he adresses the message to the reader that talking is important because Selwyn's silence is one reason for his crises.
I can only recommend the book. Nevertheless it is written in a special way. Using a lot of flashbacks throughout the whole story causes problems while reading. It is very difficult to understand the content because of these flashbacks but in the end all becomes clear.

Tobias Augstein

Download the book review here.