Volunteer

( 1 )

Overview

Rutledge Jordan is looking for redemption. A Peace Corps worker finishing up a monastic two-year stint in Tanzania, he teaches villagers how to build fish ponds. He is a long way from his previous life in Memphis, Tennessee - a life of legal briefs and expositions, sweaty infidelities, and a wrecked engagement. In the lush Usambara Mountains, Jordan hopes to start over. Despite his labors, the sins of his past revisit him in the form of a beautiful young school girl named Zanifa. Promised to a wealthy, ...
See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (52) from $1.99   
  • New (7) from $4.99   
  • Used (45) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

Rutledge Jordan is looking for redemption. A Peace Corps worker finishing up a monastic two-year stint in Tanzania, he teaches villagers how to build fish ponds. He is a long way from his previous life in Memphis, Tennessee - a life of legal briefs and expositions, sweaty infidelities, and a wrecked engagement. In the lush Usambara Mountains, Jordan hopes to start over. Despite his labors, the sins of his past revisit him in the form of a beautiful young school girl named Zanifa. Promised to a wealthy, Oxford-educated African prince, she awaits her marriage and forced ritual mutilation with a mixture of hope and resignation. But Jordan becomes outraged, refusing to accept the girl's fate. And as his initial attraction to Zanifa grows into an obsession, he decides her only salvation lies in her seduction... Now the cycle of passion and vengeance is set in motion and the prince will demand his own cruel revenge. In a desperate and determined final gesture of love, Jordan takes a risk at once noble, foolhardy, and terrifying. And in a shocking conclusion, the price of love and justice will be levied and paid.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Impressive action scenes begin and end this debut novel by magazine journalist Coleman. Between them are brief, haunting descriptions of the incursions of pop culture on the rural life of Tanzania, but there's a heavy equatorial stillness at the heart of the story. Rutledge Jordan is a Peace Corps volunteer five months away from the end of his contract, teaching Usambara Mountain dwellers to farm fish. In his free time, he rescues a runt eaglet and trains it, and he obsesses about his failure to marry the woman back home and to settle into life as a member of a prestigious law firm in Memphis. When he meets Zanifa, a 16-year-old innocent engaged to the sinister local sultan and scheduled to undergo ritual circumcision before the ceremony, his lust for her and his scorn for the sultan provoke Jordan to make a grand, if self-serving, effort to save Zanifa from mutilation. A few Graham Greene-like characters hover at the edge of the narrative, but neither they nor Coleman's themes (the unworldly but uninnocent American in Africa, the coming of democracy to Tanzania) achieve three-dimensionality. Coleman ends up with an engaging travelogue but a formulaic story. (Mar.) FYI: Coleman lived for two years in the Usambara Mountains of Tanzania.
Library Journal
Coleman's first novel is about the heavy cost of carrying one's own problems and culturally conditioned views into encounters with an alien people. Lawyer Rutledge Jordan loses his fiance because of his incessant womanizing. To escape his sense of loss, he joins the Peace Corps and is assigned to Tanzania, where he helps natives build fish ponds. There, he meets an attractive young half-breed, Zanifa, soon to be married to a native sultan. Before the marriage, she will be circumcised in a barbaric and painful ritual. Rutledge sets out to persuade Zanifa to refuse to participate. Persuasion turns to seduction, described in intensely erotic prose. A friend warns, "It's not your country. You can't alter their behavior." The sultan threatens vengeance. But events have gone too far. The quality and empathetic breadth of writing make this an accomplished novel, satisfying to the most discriminating reader. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/97; Coleman was a stringer for the Nairobi bureau of Time magazine.Ed.]David Keymer, California State Univ., Stanislaus
George Plimpton
A gripping and compelling first novel -- a love story set in the mountains of East Africa by a young novelist well versed in both the human and natural conditions of that area. An astonishing debut. -- George Plimpton
Shelby Foote
Carter Coleman writes of Africa as a long-term visitor who has learned to feel at home in the Usambara Mountains; at home, that is, until he crosses lines he might better have stepped back from. But then there would have been no story, no first novel, and we would be the losers. -- Shelby Foote
Kirkus Reviews
A thirtyish American goes to Africa to find redemption but comes across instead as a self-centered and culturally insensitive mischief-maker. Newcomer Coleman, an American who attended the University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania, vividly evokes the East African countryside, and his descriptions of village life and local politics are deft and to the point. But the heart of his story—a Memphis attorney's attempts to salvage a misspent life by serving in the Peace Corps—is fundamentally flawed. Rutledge Jordan had cheated so often on Anna, his longtime love, that she finally left him for good. Now, heartbroken and disenchanted with his law practice, Rutledge is in Africa trying to save himself while teaching the local tribespeople how to build fish farms and while also observing the habitat of endangered eagles. To help preserve the species, he removes an eaglet from its nest and brings it home to rear and later release into the wild. A 16-year-old local girl, Zanifa, bright as well as beautiful, assists him in feeding and training the bird. Rutledge is attracted to her, of course, and when he learns she's to be married to Kimweri—a local Oxford-educated potentate who insists that she first undergo female circumcision—Rutledge initiates her sexually. Given the place, his age, and her impoverished circumstances, however, the suggestion of opportunism rather than heroism is unavoidable for the reader. Obsessed, Rutledge abducts Zanifa from Kimweri's domain just before the marriage is to take place; then he flees with her (after his eagle brutally wounds Kimweri) to Kenya, where he enrolls her in a school paid for with money he's earned smuggling dope and gems. Kimweri ispowerful and will exact a brutal revenge—but it doesn't matter: According to his lights but unfortunately not the reader's, Rutledge has become a changed (and better) version of himself. An unintentionally distasteful tale of an ugly American.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446522038
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/23/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 308
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2000

    Heart Grabbing Reality in 'The Volunteer'.

    Rutledge Jordan's story speaks to the very core of our choices. The parallel chapters of Jordan's past are artfully interwoven as answers to questions raised in this gripping page turner. A gritty, political expose of a modern yet ancient culture. A monsterous must for summer reading. Lather on the suntan oil, you will read it straight to the end. Wow! Thankyou Carter Coleman.a

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)