Updated on May 19, 2015
12. ‘White Dog Fell from the Sky’ by Eleanor Morse
Where many stories end – when the main character makes good his escape from a country filled with corruption and torture – this one begins. Isaac rolls out of a secret compartment in the bottom of a hearse, having fled from South Africa and left his family behind. He finds himself in Botswana with no money and no plan, but still alive. The titular white dog turns up out of nowhere and trails Isaac on his journey. Even when Isaac goes missing, the dog sits and waits for his return, as loyal as Greyfriars Bobby.
But this story is about more than Isaac and what happens to him as he begins to rebuild his life in a new country. Through Isaac we meet Alice, the wealthy white woman who employs him as a gardener, and through Alice we meet Ian, her love interest. It’s an interesting book, structurally: it starts out from Isaac’s perspective but, as we meet other major characters, the narrative voice leaps into their heads too. Unfortunately, my Kindle edition wasn’t particularly well formatted, so these jumps happened pretty much sentence to sentence, which really interrupted the story.
Still, I did find myself forming a strong attachment to the characters. I liked Ian especially – he’s a principled man, who likes nothing more than to wander the land, but who finds himself falling for Alice, a much younger woman. What happens to him at the end of the book is surprising and very well written. Isaac’s life, too, takes a dramatic turn. In fact, things change for all the characters so quickly that you really get a feeling for the randomness of living in such troubled times. Nobody is safe, everything can change very suddenly, and all the people are helpless against the dual forces of government and nature.
This is a good, if slightly erratically written book, well worth a read for the strong characters and their compelling stories.
“Mostly bad things fell from the sky, but this small one with the black dot on her muzzle and the faraway look in her eyes was here on Earth for some good reason. And in that truth was a kind of hopefulness.”
This is another book that I got through NetGalley, a very, very long time ago. I had never heard of this novel or Eleanor Morse before; it was the blurb that sold it to me!
If you enjoyed my review, why not buy the book and let me know what you think?