Overview

Cannibal is Africa from the inside—inside the head of a woman who fears that the man she loves is CIA, that the film the're supposed to make is his cover, that she might be pregnant. A haunting story of survival, Cannibal lays bare a woman's greatest hungers. Known as Good-for-Nothing by the Africans —unfit for the climate, the work, or frienship, she struggles for recognition, and for her life. What she finds, wandering the savannah for months, are the "blue people", those with AIDS who have been left to die in ...

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Cannibal

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Overview

Cannibal is Africa from the inside—inside the head of a woman who fears that the man she loves is CIA, that the film the're supposed to make is his cover, that she might be pregnant. A haunting story of survival, Cannibal lays bare a woman's greatest hungers. Known as Good-for-Nothing by the Africans —unfit for the climate, the work, or frienship, she struggles for recognition, and for her life. What she finds, wandering the savannah for months, are the "blue people", those with AIDS who have been left to die in an abandoned British outpost. But this is only counterpoint to her own predicament. "Trust hasn't enough syllables," she says, regarding her lover walking ahead of her. "He doesn't look at it. I can't not look, but he won't look." In Cannibal, nobody wants to look—the differences are too frightening, the truth too stark, the love too little. A step beyond Heart of Darkness, Cannibal is the virtual reality of exotic paranoia where, when the images break apart, Death grins out.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Winner of the publisher's 1994 Elmer Holmes Bobst Award for emerging writers, this fragmentary, darkly lyrical first novel conjures an Africa charged with menace. Svoboda, a poet and filmmaker who lived for a year in the Sudan, thrusts her nameless young American heroine into a nameless country, where she is filming a documentary with her manipulative, sexually demanding boyfriend, whom she suspects of being a CIA agent. Her other worries include her fear that she is pregnant and her struggle to earn the natives' respect. Feeling like an outsider, ``only a woman and just white,'' she goes by the epithet ``Good for Nothing,'' but by the story's end the natives rechristen her ``Daughter of the Nile.'' Horrific images of animal slaughter and dangers in the bush mingle with a grim encounter with ``blue people,'' victims of AIDS who roam the savannah or wait to die in a deserted British outpost. While Svoboda's stark imagery paints a visceral, powerful portrait of a milieu beset by mistrust and pain, the narrator's voice sometimes goes flat, and some readers may find her minutely self-analytical focus enervating. (Jan.)
Library Journal
The author of three books of poetry (e.g., All Aberration, LJ 12/85), Svoboda fared well when she switched to fiction. This, her first published novel, has won the 1994 Elmer Holmes Bobst Award for Emerging Writers, one of a series of awards whose recipients have included Toni Morrison and John Updike in other categories. An unnamed woman narrates this story of daily survival in contemporary Africa. Beset by starvation, wild animals, political upheavals, and a harsh climate, she travels with her companion/lover, also unnamed, as they document African life. Many readers will find the narrator's interior monolog daunting as they try to keep up with who's who. But Svoboda deserves praise for this work. All too often American writers depict Africans as the "Other" in fictional works. Svoboda realistically portrays her central character as the "Other," whose ways seem strange to the Africans she encounters. Recommended for most collections.-Faye A. Chadwell, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia
From the Publisher

"A harrowing first novel...Svoboda's heroine is a white ethnographer slowly being starved to death by her lover as they trek across the Sudan. An obsessive monologue told in a measured whisper, desperate, chilling, seductive."

-Vogue,

"I am still hungover from reading this book . . . Most writers cannot sustain their premises but Svoboda does and even strengthens hers . . . I am very excited about this book being put into the world."

-Mark Richard,author of Fishboy: A Ghost's Story

"Like another poet-turned novelist, Denis Johnson, Svoboda turns a shrewd and lucid gaze on sights that make others turn away. Her diction is as precise as her territory is vast. What happens in Africa haunts her, it inhabits every word."

-Amy Hempel,

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814739846
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/1994
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 144
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

A native of Nebraska, Terese Svoboda lived for a year in Sudan, making documentary films and translating. She now divides her time between New York and Hawaii.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 3, 2008

    Amazing

    This book was perfict in every way.

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