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Beschreibung des Verlags
The Leopard's Wifeis a novel of love in an impossible land. Smiles, a famous concert pianist and English public school boy, wants to make amends with his African-American schoolmaster, Lyman Andrew, who has buried himself in the war-torn jungle of the Congo. Smiles owes his success to the man he helped ruin and harbors a dark secret from the past and his brutal public school. But a bomb has exploded at a hotel in Kinshasa where Smiles was due to play at a peace and reconciliation concert and he is accidentally invited to his own funeral. Coffins are broken open by the Presidential Guard and when he is not in his, Smiles is suspected of being one of the rebels. He escapes on a ramshackle boat with the grand piano meant for his recital, which is now destined for his old schoolmaster, who lives near Kisangani, more than a thousand miles upriver, where the rebel forces are gathering and exiles are fleeing the war in the east. On the way he falls in love with Lola, the beautiful wife of Xavier, the head of the Presidential Guard and the Leopard of the title - even the leopard has a wife, says a Swahili proverb - and Smiles begins to appreciate anew the majesty of creation and the Congo as he brings Beethoven into the atrocity haunted forest. But all the time the Leopard is following . . .
LondonTimes columnist Pickering (Wild About Harry) sets his lackluster fifth novel amid the Congo civil war. British pianist Stanley Smiles Miles-Harcourt arrives in the region expecting to play in a Peace and Reconciliation Concert alongside his estranged mentor, Lyman Andrew. After the rehearsal space is bombed, Smiles, his piano, and a cadre of sympathetic locals embark on a life-threatening journey through the jungle in hopes of finding Lyman and reaching a safe place to broadcast a performance. Pickering's premise that he broadcast may just stop the fighting is as na ve and far-fetched as it sounds. Among Smiles's guides is the 17-year-old Lola, former lover of Major General Xavier and his upstart brother, Fortun , who has access to a crucial transmitter. Lola falls in love with Smiles, too, and their affair inspires some of novel's most insipid passages. Meanwhile, Smiles's letters to his psychiatrist, reproduced throughout, fill in the pianist's sordid history, and though his gratuitously violent backstory unfolds with better logic and organization than the Congo adventure, the narrative reads more like a series of awkwardly recounted horrors than a fully formed novel.