Also By This Author
“One of the funniest tales of misadventure to come along in quite a while. . . . Mr. Stevens has a wonderful eye for the curiosities of human behavior, Third World variety; he is witty, but not at the expense of the Africans.” The New Yorker
An African Adventure
Atlantic Monthly Press
978-0-87113-361-8 • $14.00 • Paperback • May 1990
Malaria Dreams is
a tale of high adventure across Africa, recounted with the wit and humor that
delighted readers of Night Train to
Turkistan, Stuart Stevens’s highly praised first book.
The story begins when a “geologist” friend mentions to
Stevens that he has a Land Rover in the Central African Republic which he’d
like to get back to Europe. It’s only later, when Stevens discovers that half
of Africa thinks his friend is a spy and the other half is convinced he’s a
diamond smuggler, that the intrepid author begins to realize he should have
asked a few more questions before leaving home. And then there’s the small
problem of the Land Rover’s seizure by the minister of mines, who has
appropriated it as his personal car. It is a new Land Rover. The minister likes
it very much.
Three months later, Stevens and his twenty-three-year-old
companion (the only woman to ever transfer from Bryn Mawr to the University of
Oklahoma) have somehow managed to drive—though not in the ill-fated Land
Rover—across the wildest part of Africa, emerging scathed but still alive on
the shores of the Mediterranean.
takes readers along on close encounters with killer ants in Cameroon,
revolutionary soldiers in the middle of Lake Chad (a huge mudhole lacking any
water), and strangely frenzied Peace Corps parties in Niger. There’s a long
search for a functional set of springs in Timbuktu and near disastrous bouts
with sickness and automotive malfunctions in the middle of the Sahara.
Through it all, Stevens and his ex-fashion model companion
battle the odds, and often each other, to return home to tell this unlikely,
highly amusing tale.