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The Resource Three weeks in December, Audrey Schulman

Three weeks in December, Audrey Schulman

Label
Three weeks in December
Title
Three weeks in December
Statement of responsibility
Audrey Schulman
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
This novel interweaves the perspectives of Jeremy, an engineer who leaves small-town Maine in 1899 to oversee the construction of a railroad across East Africa, and finds himself the reluctant hunter of two lions killing his men in nightly attacks; and Max, an American ethnobotanist who travels to Rwanda in 2000 in search of an obscure vine that could become a lifesaving pharmaceutical, but finds herself shadowing a family of gorillas whose survival is threatened by a violent rebel group from nearby Congo
Tone
Writing style
Review
  • Schulman deftly takes a common plotline—the ubiquitous fish-out-of-water story—and turns it on its head. Her two protagonists, separated by a century, start out as fishes-out-of-water but find welcoming waters, thousands of miles from home, where they begin to feel comfortable in their own skins. Before Jeremy, an uptight Victorian engineer, leaves his Maine homestead for a job in equatorial Africa, he feels like a failure, a disappointment to his mother and his prodigious grandfather. A century later, ethnobotanist Max Tombay’s Asperger’s syndrome forces her to either avoid or struggle with person-to-person encounters. It isn’t until she accepts an assignment taking her from her Maine laboratory to an African mountaintop inhabited by great apes that she truly finds herself. Jeremy discovers his sense of self in very un-Victorian, even anti-Victorian late-nineteenth-century Africa. That there’s a connection between Jeremy and Max is no surprise, but it’s Schulman’s hat trick of making Africa the antagonist that makes their stories so special. -- Chavez, Donna (Reviewed 02-15-2012) (Booklist, vol 108, number 12)
  • Deftly weaving the forays of two individuals, separated by a century, into the unknown heart of Africa, Schulman’s fourth novel, her first in 11 years, tracks an engineer named Jeremy, who in 1889 accepts a contract to supervise the construction of a bridge in British-controlled East Africa, and female botanist Max Tombay, who travels to modern-day Rwanda at the behest of a pharmaceutical company in search of the next blockbuster drug. Though Max treads undaunted into gorilla territory, the threat posed by child soldiers makes her wonder if her search is worth it. Jeremy feels Africa’s pull in a more personal way; he’s an outcast in his Maine town and dreads a life spent at the side of his disapproving widowed mother. Sympathetic to her two loners while accepting their faults, Schulman (A House Named Brazil) nudges her characters into their fears in order to measure their reactions, but her greatest asset is her cultural sensitivity. Finding the lonely orphan in an armed child or the playful cat within a man-eating lion, she yields her story’s mysteries slowly, with evident relish. Agent: Richard Parks, the Richard Parks Agency. (Feb.) --Staff (Reviewed December 19, 2011) (Publishers Weekly, vol 258, issue 51, p)
  • Its abundance has made Africa ripe for exploitation, but among those who arrive with less-than-honorable intentions are some who will become so enthralled with the land and its inhabitants that they cannot—will not—leave. In 1899, Maine engineer Jeremy hires on with the British to supervise the construction of a railroad through East Africa, paving the way for English settlers while carelessly displacing the indigenous people. Some 100 years later, Max, an ethnobotanist chosen by a "big pharma" corporation, travels to a gorilla research facility in Rwanda to test and return with a rare vine that could become a medical miracle. In alternating chapters, Schulman (The Cage ) weaves two mesmerizing tales based on historical fact and enlivened by sympathetic, fully formed characters. Jeremy feels compelled to prove his manhood when his encampment of Indian workers is threatened by a pair of aggressive lions, while Max immerses herself in the silent world of the endangered gorilla families. VERDICT Teaching without preaching, Schulman speaks to the dichotomy between the preservationists and the destroyers of Africa's resources while treating readers to a veritable visceral cornucopia of the senses. This beautiful novel deserves wide readership.— Sally Bissell, Lee Cty. Lib., Ft. Myers, FL --Sally Bissell (Reviewed January 1, 2012) (Library Journal, vol 136, issue 21, p98)
  • Two Americans have life-altering experiences in Africa a century apart in this environmentalist adventure novel from Schulman (A House Named Brazil, 2000, etc.). In December 1899, Jeremy arrives in East Africa from Maine to work as engineer in the construction of a railroad that will open Africa up to colonists. Jeremy, whose homosexuality is not spoken of but obvious, has never fit in at home, and he soon realizes the other white man at the project site will not accept him. But he falls in love with Africa. Soon he is involved in hunting two lions that have been terrorizing both the local population and his Indian laborers. His local guide and fellow hunter is Otombe, who picked up English living with missionaries as a child. In December 2000 another Maine native arrives in Rwanda. Max is a botanist hired to search out miracle beta blockers reputed to exist in certain hard-to-find vines that endangered Rwanda gorillas use medicinally. She has always been an outsider, partly because her professor father was black but mainly because she has Asperger's Syndrome. Never comfortable with human interactions, she forms an almost immediate kinship with the gorillas. Schulman shifts between Jeremy and Max's experiences. Jeremy becomes a hero for shooting one of the lions. Parting from Otombe without expressing his true feelings, he sublimates them in his sexual liaison with an African woman who reminds him of Otombe and bears him a child he takes back to Maine. Max's idyll with her new gorilla family is threatened by the growing power of a violent cult of child soldiers from the nearby Congo called the Kutu. As the marauding Kutus approach, Max goes into hiding among the gorillas with a sense of both joy and impending doom. Advocacy fiction--a little preachy and obvious but also genuinely passionate about both the cause of African wildlife and the sensory experience of Africa, which Schulman brings to tactile life.(Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2012)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10034794
Cataloging source
BTCTA
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1963-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Schulman, Audrey
Dewey number
813/.54
Illustrations
maps
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Railroad engineers
  • Ethnobotanists
  • Animals
  • Human ecology
  • Africa
Label
Three weeks in December, Audrey Schulman
Instantiates
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages [351]-353)
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
844176
Dimensions
21 cm
Extent
353 pages
Isbn
9781609450649
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
map
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781609450649
  • (OCoLC)744291864
Label
Three weeks in December, Audrey Schulman
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages [351]-353)
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
844176
Dimensions
21 cm
Extent
353 pages
Isbn
9781609450649
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
map
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781609450649
  • (OCoLC)744291864

Library Locations

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