Written by Van Heerling


Interesting novella for teen and adult audiences. The author’s intention is to provoke discussion, and to that end, he provides discussion questions at the end of the almost one hundred page story.

The protagonist is an American who has left his wife and children to live a simple life in Kenya, just outside the jungle. He tutors Absko, the son of Abasi, for fresh tobacco and necessities. One day he is visited by a lioness. He names her Malaika, which means Angel in Swahili. They soon develop a strange friendship. Malaika’s pride do not seem to approve, nor do they attack. Abasi warns him that no good can come of this alliance; if the lioness comes near the village she will be killed. Will she be accepted by her pride and can the human feline relationship endure?

The story also illustrates the tender relationship of the American with Abasi, and his promise to help him achieve his dream of journeying to America with his wife and child. This tale probes the heart and soul of each of the characters and the fate of each as their roles play out.

Very well written with nicely developed characters and imagery. Paints an interesting portrait of African life along with a psychological study of the novella’s characters. Thoughtful and provoking; highly recommended as a classroom discussion topic or book club discussion group study. Recommended for ages twelve and older.

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