Saturday, 19 January 2013
Nightmare Along the River Nile - Suzanna E. Nelson
Title: Nightmare Along the River Nile
Author: Suzanna E. Nelson
Genre: General Fiction
“Nightmare along the River Nile” by Suzanna E. Nelson is a book that appears to have been written for one fundamental purpose. It aims to highlight and expose the rather harsh fact that modern day slavery does exist. For me, personally this book has succeeded in fulfilling that purpose as prior to reading it had no idea that slavery still went on in the modern age.
The story itself is set during the 1990’s and follows Edgar and three friends who have just graduated from High School in Uganda. Whilst travelling home to his mother, the bus Edgar is travelling on gets ambushed by an insurgency group known as the LRA. Alongside the majority of the passengers Edgar is abducted and so begins an ordeal of suffering and misery as he ends up being sold into slavery in the Sudan. Meanwhile, when Edgar’s three friends find out about his kidnapping they undertake an attempt to locate and secure Edgar’s release.
This book is quite simply heart-wrenching at times as the reader is subjected to following the unbearable circumstances that Edgar must endure. The cruelty and hate shown by his captors really does highlight the simple fact that evil is still alive and well in the world. However, Nelson doesn’t just leave the reader feeling miserable and gloomy because she has also tried to highlight some of the good that people can do. Edgar’s friends are used well to highlight the various different people who are willing to try and do the right thing. I think it highlights well that good and evil are there no matter colour, race and religion of the people involved.
One issue I did have with the novel though is that I don’t think Nelson did a great job in using her characters to capturing a real deep emotional element to the story which in turn affected some of the tension within the story. I basically found that the novel came across in a very direct and factual style, with that characters telling the reader how they felt instead of having their feelings expressed through actions and descriptions. I really do think that it would have been an incredibly powerful novel if the reader had got to feel the character’s fears rather than just be told about them.
Overall, this novel does vividly highlight the suffering and horror that people can still face due to slavery. I think the overall tension and emotional impact do suffer a little bit due to the style of the story telling but I still found the entire novel entertaining enough to ensure I followed it through to completion. On a personal note, I really appreciated reading a story that explored parts of Africa I knew nothing about and it created enough interest that I have read more about the countries and people introduced to me in this story.