Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The White Nile Diaries-John Hopkins

The White Nile Diaries-John Hopkins

the facts
satisfaction: up/side
pages: 256
gender: M
nationality: USA
year: 2015
non fiction, memoir

The diaries of an affluent white man in the 1960s traveling along the Nile with his friend and his love, a motorcycle.


Maybe I didn't really have enough context going into this book because I thought it was going to be like a travelogue-like a travel story with introspection and adventure. I mean, let's not get me wrong, there was loads of adventure but it was told in short staccato, brusque entries. I think I liked the book mainly because it was structured the way I structure my own travel 'writing'. I write down, daily, the basics of what I've done, where I've been, and sometimes I go into more detail. It works well for me because I can picture, from the sketchy details, the outlines of what I've done. Hopkins is more wordy than me but it felt the same? So there's a sort of intimacy which I was not expected. Also, much shorter than you'd expect and definitely worshipful of their motorcycle which admittedly did really well on quite an epic journey. Yes, staccato and intimate is how I'd describe this book....In addition, Hopkins is traveling during a period when many of these countries are actually still under colonial rule with tensions between whites and blacks uncomfortable. He interacts primarily with the white people, the army, and settlers, but is respectful of the blacks. He rarely succumbs to the poor black folks or savages talk that pervades much of the writing from this time and is instead a fair observer of his surroundings.

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