Somebody's Heart Is Burning: A Woman Wanderer in Africa

Somebody's Heart Is Burning: A Woman Wanderer in Africa

by Tanya Shaffer
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Somebody's Heart Is Burning: A Woman Wanderer in Africa by Tanya Shaffer

“It's my life, and if I want to run from it I can,” quips Tanya Shaffer. An incorrigible wanderer, Shaffer has a habit of fleeing domesticity for the joys and rigors of the open road. This time her destination is Ghana, and what results is a transformative year spent roaming the African continent. Eager to transcend the limitations of tourism, Shaffer works as a volunteer, building schools and hospitals in remote villages. At the heart of her tale are the profound, complex, often challenging relationships she forms with those she meets along the way.

Whether recounting a perilous boat trip to Timbuktu, a night of impassioned political debate in Ghana, or a fumbled romance in Burkina Faso, Shaffer portrays the collision of African and North American cultures with self-deprecating humor and clear-eyed compassion. Filled with warmth, candor, and an exuberant sense of adventure, Somebody’s Heart is Burning raises provocative questions about privilege, wealth, and the true meaning of friendship.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400032594
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/13/2003
Series: Vintage Departures Original Series
Edition description: VINTAGE
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.26(w) x 7.99(h) x 0.69(d)

About the Author

Tanya Shaffer has spent time helping human rights groups in Guatemala, picking coffee in Nicaragua, and even digging ditches in the Czech Republic. She lives in San Francisco. Tanya first wrote about her experiences in Africa in the "Wanderlust" section of where her articles were extremely well-received and popular. Many of those pieces have been reprinted in anthologies and some have been incorporated into Somebody’s Heart Is Burning. The chapter in the book called "Sand Angels" served as the basis for a one-woman stage production entitled Let My Enemy Live Long! which she has performed to critical acclaim in over 40 cities during the last three years. The show won the San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle Award for solo performance and ran in San Francisco for more than six months, before moving on to Seattle and other West Coast venues, including a month-long run in San Diego in February of this year. She is working now to bring the show to New York City.

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Somebody's Heart Is Burning: A Woman Wanderer in Africa 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fascinating true stories of the dark continent
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to agree with both Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Review on their critique of this book. I believe this author to be a totally self-asorbed, people and places experimenter, who quickly tires of her experiments and experiences. She finishes nothing and hurts many while trying to make sure she doesn't miss any possibility of feeling or experience. She claimed to research her travels before going but is totally unprepared by the third world realities of living in poverty. Stay away from this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A friend gave me this book and I was completely entranced by it. Shaffer's voice is so fresh, so wry, so funny and candid that she won me over instantly! Her African adventures, first as a volunteer and then as a solo traveler, bring her into contact with Africans and foreigners from all walks of life. The depth of her connection to these individuals, and the way she captures the complex personal dynamics that arise between people of different cultural and economic backgrounds really sets this apart from other travel narratives I have read. Each person she met became so real to me that I found myself missing them when I put down the book. She is also a great storyteller: her narrative is filled with suspense and surprises that kept me turning the pages, eager to learn what happened next. Underneath all that was her ongoing struggle about what it means to be a person from the 'developed' world traveling in the 'developing' world. I laughed, I was moved, I questioned, and I learned a lot about Africa in the process. A great read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had such a great time reading this book! As a traveler, I related to the joys, trials, and confusions of being a person from the U.S. traveling in the 'developing' world. The connections Shaffer makes with the people she meets are deep, real, and complicated. I laughed out loud many times while I was reading this, but it was the pathos of the individual stories that stayed with me long after I put the book down.