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The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell
About the Book
On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the majestic Victoria Falls, there was once a colonial settlement called the Old Drift. Here begins the epic story of a small African nation, told by a mysterious swarm-like chorus that calls itself man’s greatest nemesis. In 1904, in a smoky room at the hotel across the river, an Old Drifter named Percy M. Clark, foggy with fever, makes a mistake that entangles his fate with those of an Italian hotelier and an African busboy. This error sets off a cycle of unwitting retribution between these three Zambian families, as they continually collide over the course of the century, into the present, and beyond.
About the Author
NAMWALI SERPELL is a Zambian writer who teaches at UC Berkeley. She received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award in 2011 and was selected for the Africa 39 in 2014. She won the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing.
THE OLD DRIFT is her first novel. The chapter entitled "The Falls" is derived from The Autobiography of An Old Drifter, by the historical figure, Percy M. Clark (1874-1937).