A Guide to the Birds of East Africa (Hardcover)
A beguiling novel that does for contemporary Kenya and its 1,000 species of birds what Alexander McCall Smith's Ladies Detective series does for Botswana
For the past three years, the widower Mr. Malik has been secretly in love with Rose Mbikwa, a woman who leads the weekly bird walks sponsored by the East African Ornithological Society. Reserved and honorable, Malik wouldn't be noticed by a bystander in a Nairobi street--except perhaps to comment on his carefully sculpted combover. But beneath that unprepossessing exterior lies a warm heart and a secret passion.
But just as Malik is getting up the nerve to invite Rose to the Nairobi Hunt Club Ball (the premier social occasion of the Kenyan calendar), who should pop up but his nemesis from his school days. The jokester Harry Khan, good-looking in a flashy way and quick of foot, has also become enraptured with the object of Malik's affection.
So begins the competition cooked up by fellow members of the Asadi club: whoever can identify the most species of birds in one week's time gets the privilege of asking Ms. Mbikwa to the ball.
Set against the lush Kenyan landscape rich with wildlife and political intrigue, this irresistible novel has been sold in eight countries and is winning fans worldwide.
"[a] quietly beguiling new novel, A Guide to the Birds of East Africa...reads like transplanted Wodehouse." Christian Science Monitor
"enchanting...Readers will find themselves buying copies for all their birding friends." -Birding Business
"Nicholas Drayson's engaging new novel...[a] quiet, gently humorous tale." -National Geographic Traveler
"This book is a sheer delight for birders and nonbirders alike." Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"A lighthearted novel about birding and a wager to win the right to call a woman for a date." Kirkus Reviews
"While the reader is pulled along by the suspense of the contest, the glorious sights, sounds, and smells of Nairobi provide lovely rest stops along the way." Library Journal Starred
"A Guide to the Birds of East Africa will appeal to Alexander McCall Smith fans, but definitely stands on its own and will beguile any reader who appreciates sharp wit and gentle charm." -Shelf Awareness