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Roxanne Reviews "The Old Drift" by Namwali Serpell


It almost seems impossible to review a novel that’s over 650 pages long…..I mean how to begin? The Old Drift caught me up immediately into a world of British explorers trying to tame the wilds of Africa. Namwali Serpell’s Zambian novel surpasses visual equivalents. You are in Africa with these characters. Just when you’ve become enthralled, Serpell switches the scene to an equally enticing British tennis player with an affliction I’ll let you discover. From there you’ll be treated to a chapter with magical realism, a character to be envied by anyone follicly challenged. Serpell’s world spins you around and then surprises you with genetic connections that will have you shaking your head at her ingenuity. American references of He-Man cartoons and pop music to African food and dress make you feel at once home and exotic. Having begun at the turn of the 20th Century, Serpell’s epic finish hints at the dangers of our modern drone technology set in 2023. Don’t let the size of the book scare you away. Namwall’s The Old Drift is worth every hour of your time.

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