Paula Nangle The Leper Compound

ISBN 13: 9781934137062

The Leper Compound

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9781934137062: The Leper Compound
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The Leper Compound will . . . remain with the reader long after the book has been closed.”—Stuart Dybek, author of I Sailed with Magellan

For Colleen, motherless at seven, isolated from her schizophrenic younger sister, illness unleashes the uncanny and essential of human identity. Growing into womanhood in Rhodesia’s final conflict-ridden years, she transgresses social, racial, and political boundaries in her search for connection. This masterly novel is a searing evocation of late-twentieth-century African life.

Paula Nangle was raised by missionaries in the United States and southern Africa and now lives in Benton Harbor, Michigan. This is her first novel.

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About the Author:

Paula Nangle was raised by missionaries in the US and southern Africa and directly witnessed the transition of Rhodesia to Zimbabwe. She is a practicing psychiatric nurse and an advocate for patient's rights. An MFA in creative writing graduate of Western Michigan University, she has published fiction in a number of literary magazines. This is her first novel.

From Publishers Weekly:

Zimbabwe and South Africa at the last half of the 20th century provide the complex backdrop for Nangle's melancholy debut. Structured as a series of snapshots in the life of Colleen, daughter of a white farmer and a former missionary, the book looks at the harrowing transitions from white to black rule. As a child, Colleen survives malaria in then-Rhodesia, which leaves her with a lifelong legacy of hallucinatory dreams that may or may not have a real-world basis. She also learns to cope with her younger sister's schizophrenia. The guerrilla warfare of the 1970s creates a tacit barrier between Colleen and her many Shona friends (the Shona people make up a majority in Zimbabwe). Their reluctance to tell Colleen the truth about their political activities causes her to inadvertently betray them. Over time—and with a few harrowing adventures of her own as she studies nursing in South Africa, marries and gives birth to a son—the number of black Africans in Colleen's life dwindles. She is herded into a purely white world, despite the end of apartheid. While a simple coming of age tale on the surface, Nangle's poetic and often heartbreaking story exposes racism's insidious effect on all concerned. (Jan.)
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