Exile – Jakob Ejersbo

I downloaded this book onto my Kindle when staying in Nairobi for the 3rd E-Tourism Conference on the recommendation of the organiser Damien Cook.  Quite scary to read another persons view of what was essentially my way of life in the 80’s.  I recognised many of the characters – and to be honest the book didn’t go far enough!

Those people did exist – due to very protective parents I wasn’t involved directly in a lot of the escapades my peers were, now, I’m glad.  So many are alcoholics, drug addicts, some are dead due to one or other of the aforementioned.  Many are still living that way of life, out every night drinking (and more), and partying as though they are still teenagers, these are people in their 40’s and 50’s.  We were in Dar es Salaam not up-country, but if you’ve heard of Happy Valley or Kenya Cowboys – welcome to what many of us call the ‘In-Dars’ a group of incredibly privileged peter pan types – that’s not to say there aren’t some lovely people amongst the group – there’s always an exception to any rule.

The average ‘In-Dars’ life consists of the Yacht Club bar, eating out at the many restaurants that have popped up (there were none in the 80’s) the English Pub, taking coke, having sex with as many partners as possible, sailing and drinking, driving and drinking with the occasional hour at work – there are many who work hard and play hard, but they aren’t the type I’m talking about.  What consistently amazes me is the amount of right-on NGO ‘girlies’ who aspire to catching one of these men

For the vagabond pack of ex-pat Europeans, Indian Tanzanians and wealthy Africans at Moshi’s International School, it’s all about getting high, getting drunk and getting laid. Their parents – drug dealers, mercenaries and farmers gone to seed – are too dead inside to give a damn.

Outwardly free but empty at heart, privileged but out of place, these kids are lost, trapped in a land without hope. They can try to get out, but something will always drag them back – where can you go when you believe in nothing and belong to nowhere?

Exile is the first of three powerful novels about growing up as an ex-pat in Tanzania. Ejersbo’s first novel, Nordkraft, the Danish Trainspotting, was a phenomenal bestseller. Ejersbo’s trilogy, only published after his death in 2008, has proved to be another cult and critical sensation.

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