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Last Orders at Harrods Paperback – Mar 1 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; 1 edition (March 1 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349120099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349120096
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.9 x 20 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 259 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,078,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


** 'Jolly good fun―DAILY MAIL

** 'This wickedly satirical novel is also a serious critique of Africa's troubled state―GUARDIAN

** 'Some devastatingly hilarious moments ... a satire that should be required bedtime reading at Gleneagles―SCOTSMAN

** 'A highly entertaining account of how people make the best of living in sub-Saharan Africa―Alexander McCall Smith, THE HERALD Books of the Year

About the Author

Michael Holman grew up in Zimbabwe and was educated in Africa and England. After university he was forced to flee Zimbabwe for Zambia, where he lived for many years. He was Africa Editor of the FINANCIAL TIMES from 1984-2002, and is now a writer and journalist based in London.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa7ddcb1c) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa813766c) out of 5 stars A satire, and life in Africa Sept. 6 2007
By Wolf Roder - Published on
Format: Paperback
Holman certainly knows Africa and knows it well. He understands the constant to-ing and fro-ing of the self-important international aid and NGO fraternity, the fancy hotels they stay in and the world-important conferences on which much foreign aid money is spent. Holman also knows the life in the African urban townships, which westerners regard as slums. Life is difficult for all, so is the survival of children in these slums, but most of all for the AIDS orphans.
You will smile and laugh out loud as the widowed owner of Harrod's Bar and Nightspot, built from three steel shipping containers bests the representatives of Harrods Department Store in London, and makes monkeys of their lawyers. I recommend this book for its satire, and good description of African life.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa81376c0) out of 5 stars Not Evelyn Waugh, but worth a read for Africa fans Sept. 5 2009
By O. Corlett - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a tale about the failure of post-colonial Africa, set in a country that feels very like Kenya and a city that feels very like Nairobi. The author clearly has strong feelings about his subject, and a very canny knowledge of how politics works in this setting. His portrait of the fictional President Josiah Nduka is particularly eye-opening, even a little chilling, and turns on its head the usual Developed-World image of a typical greedy, rather dim-witted, bumbling African politician. Similarly, he describes a world of journalists and international aid workers quite at odds with the usual impression left on those of us who watch this world vaguely and from afar. These people know what they're doing. They know they live in a corrupt world (don't we all?). The result is a very dysfunctional system -- but a compromise that is better than nothing... maybe.

As a work of fiction and a satire, it's not the most compelling thing, nor the funniest. The point of view shifts among too many characters for the novel to have a central focus, and the storyline is lacking in real suspense or surprise. The author is obviously too nice a man to make a first-class satirist (which requires a generous portion of cruelty and heartlessness), and the blurb on the back cover comparing him to Evelyn Waugh rather overstates the case.

Still, it has its moments. There are too few books on this subject, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the knotty problems of African development.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8137af8) out of 5 stars Satire about Africa Audio cd 8 cds unabridged July 22 2009
By Barbara Lane - Published on
Format: Paperback
Anyone interested in International Aid will see the funny side to this satire to what happens to the money that gets sent in and who oftens pockets a lot of it. How the newspaper reports the meetings and how the reports are so twisted to protect everyone involved. (Or the reporter could end up in jail)

International Aid is a very serious thing and very necessary but so often it doesn't fully end up where it should. This story is told with tongue in cheek humour.

Part of the story is about how the children survive in the slums and how they try and earn a small living just to buy food.

Interesting Story.
HASH(0xa8137eb8) out of 5 stars A satirical feast Oct. 9 2013
By Cloggie Downunder - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Last Orders at Harrods is the first book in the Kuwisha Trilogy by author Michael Holman. It is set in Kireba, the largest urban slum in Africa, located in the small East African nation of Kuwisha and features a cast of lively characters. Widowed owner of Harrods International Bar (and Nightspot), Charity Mupanga is getting irritated by the threatening letters from a firm of London lawyers regards the name of her establishment. Her suitor, Edward Furniver, manages the local savings co-op and has tried to help with correspondence, but has an irritation of his own, in a rather unmentionable place. World Feed rep, the cynical Lucy Gomball is delighted that cholera is a confirmed aftermath of the latest floods, hoping, via a swathe of journalists, to draw the world's attention (and hopefully, funds) to Kuwisha. About to repatriate, Financial News journalist Cecil Pearson has plans for a story to bring down lifelong President Josiah Nduka, plans involving glue-sniffing street boys, a pot-smoking kitchen toto and a tape recorder. While Nduka may be old, he is powerful, clever and determined to control his own fate. Holman's extensive experience of Africa is apparent on every page: politicians, diplomats, aid agencies, financial institutions, newspapers and even countries are easily recognisable; the extent of corruption and the forms that it takes are brilliantly illustrated; the vocabulary of code-words, watchwords and the terminology of communiques is comprehensively clarified; the feel of the African city slum is well conveyed. Holman's insightful novel also answers some burning questions about Africa: Why are the green traffic lights always smashed? What novel trick do street boys have for escaping police custody? To what lengths are street boys prepared to go to enter the football league? How does one become invisible? And, most importantly, why is it essential to make sure one's underpants are well-ironed? Each chapter is prefaced by a Kuwisha proverb that is sometimes wise, often impenetrable. A satirical feast.
HASH(0xa8137f9c) out of 5 stars A view of Kibera -world's second largest slum. July 2 2010
By B. Lesta - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you google Kibera you will see the world's second largest slum area situated in Kenya, Africa. Michael Holman's book 'Last Orders at Harrods' an african tale is about that place .The book is riveting, amusing and sad, it is a commentary on how people cope with insurmountable odds. The characters all come alive to the reader and the Mboya boys stole my heart. It is also a story of corruption and greed .A modern day saga of Kenya ,the country with the most corrupt goverment in our times .

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