What an amazing story! Out of Darkness, Shining Light is the story of how David Livingstone’s body was carried across the African continent by those who has accompanied him on his journey while alive. Told through the words of Halima, his cook, and Jacob Wainwright, a freed slave, with extracts from the doctor’s own journals framing each chapter, the novel depicts a heroic adventure that has never been told in such a manner before.
Petina Gappah writes beautifully, and created two very distinct voices in the novel. This in turn provides the reader with a well-rounded overview of the journey, a more personal account from Halima’s side, a drier, more technical account from Jacob Wainwright’s. The novel is a story of loyalty and love, but also a real insight into the intricacies of the African slave trade, the roles of countries such as the UK and the US, and the legacies of colonialism. Yes, it is historical fiction, but it is based on years and years of research and true stories, and it is incredibly important to read these types of narratives.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy, and to Petina Gappah for the beautiful novel. A must read.