White Dog Fell from the Sky

Eleanor Lincoln Morse, Author
Eleanor Morse. Viking, $26.95 (354p) ISBN 978-0-670-02640-1
Paperback - 456 pages - 978-0-241-14565-4
Hardcover - 456 pages - 978-0-241-96258-9
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Morse’s third novel (after Chopin’s Garden) is both brutal and beautiful. Set in the late 1970s, in Botswana and South Africa, it explores the strength of friendship, the bonds of love, and the inhumanity regimes are capable of inflicting upon individuals. Medical student Isaac Muthethe flees South Africa after white police murder his friend. Dumped in a field across the border in Botswana with nothing, he’s adopted by a persistent white dog and runs into an old schoolmate, Amen, now working with the MK, the military wing of the South African ANC. Staying with Amen, he wanders further into town, into the Old Village, the dog always with him, and is hired as a gardener by Alice, an American woman in a shell of a marriage. Their friendship grows, along with the garden, and the ever-present White Dog. Alice, upon learning of her husband’s infidelity, splits from him and travels into the bush for her job with the Ministry of Local Government and Lands, where she meets and falls for the unpredictable Ian Muethe. When she returns, she discovers that South African police crossed the border, raided her home, and took Isaac away. White Dog hasn’t stopped waiting for his return. Refusing to abandon the dog, Alice goes in search of Isaac. Botswana, South Africa, and the loyal White Dog are characters as important and well-drawn as Alice and Isaac. Morse’s unflinching portrayals of extremes of loyalty and cruelty make for an especially memorable novel. Agent: Jane Gelfman, Curtis Brown, U.K. (Jan.)
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