BOOK CLUB: Serengotti

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Serengotti, by African-Australian author Eugen Bacon, is an inspirational story about heartache, endurance, transformation and chasing dreams — even when the odds aren’t at all in your favour.

Ch’anzu finds herself in turmoil after finding hir wife Scarlet in bed with a stranger. And, to top it off, she loses hir job as a programmer.  With her marriage over depression sets in, and Ch’anzu finds solace with hir Aunt Maé. When offered a job to work on a project in a migrant African outpost in rural Australia, she grabs the opportunity to move.

When faced with the hard seasons of life, Ch’anzu’s transformation seemed impossible especially when grief and uncertainty dominated hir days.  She didn’t ask to have hir future completely rearranged, I admired hir resilience and fight for joy in hard times.  

She wasn’t going to be stuck in a place where hir identity became rooted in what hurt hir instead she was able to learn and grow and look to the future. 

The plot is well-paced, twists and turns will surround you and keep you turning the pages until the very last page is reached.  Being taken to the Serengotti, a small, gated community outside Wagga Wagga, NSW was engrossing.  Populated by migrants who fled their war-torn country in Africa you are introduced to cultural practices, different languages, and family values.

This novel is extraordinary character-driven, it is filled with numerous dramatic settings that transport readers into each scene. The way the author explores the emotional depths of the protagonist and the supporting cast is wonderful. It was very inspirational to see how the refugees lived and enjoyed their lives, supporting each other amidst the hardships and struggles they had endured in their own country. 

I enjoy reading and learning about new authors and this was a perfect new author and new book! I loved everything about this novel — the words, the characters, the plot. All of it was unique and really drew me into the story. I have never read a book quite like this before, but I will say that I hope to read more work like this in the future.

The cover of the book is a standout for me, it is simple yet superbly effective with stunning use of photographs, and hand lettering.  I am always drawn to bright and bold covers whenever I see them on a bookshelf. I am sure it will draw other readers attention.  

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading Serengotti by Eugen Bacon. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

5 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Serengotti

  1. Serengotti by Eugen Bacon is an unusual book which highlights what it means to be displaced and to suffer loss – both emotionally and physically – and also calls attention to some of the social and cultural realities of being African, in Australia.

    Ch’anzu, the novel’s narrator, and main character has her world turned upside down when she is dumped and sacked all on the same … hellish day. Feeling like she needs a fresh start, she leaves her comfortable city life behind, and takes a job in Serengotti, outside Wagga Wagga in rural NSW – a community set up to help African refugees who have been uprooted from their homes to come to Australia. Ch’anzu has been recruited to create computer games to help these people overcome their displacement traumas, by telling their stories…

    There is a lot going on in the community – many broken and tortured people live there, but Ch’anzu has her own issues to deal with too. Her troubled twin brother Tex has gone missing and her Aunt Mae is worried…

    Initially, the narration style of the novel takes a bit of getting used to – it uses a kind of stream of consciousness style, and combines it with psychedelic and colorful language. It is nevertheless compelling reading, and whilst sometimes confusing, ultimately the narration style adds to your understanding of the main character’s perspective.

  2. Dear Beauty and Lace Club members, I am grateful that Serengotti spoke to you. Thank you for taking the time to post your generous and insightful thoughts.
    warmest, Eugen

  3. Serengotti was a really different book than I usually read but I enjoyed it.

    Ch’anzu has a very difficult day but pulls herself together and starts a new life in a new community for displaced Africans in Australia.

    It gives a great insight into the problems these people have and how she can help them.

  4. Thank you to Beauty and Lace for allowing me to read and review Serongotti.
    I have to admit that it was a little hard for me to get into the book as it was written in a way that I wasn’t familiar with. I really did warm to the characters fast though which meant that I wanted to keep turning the pages and I am so glad I stuck at it.
    Serongotti was a powerful read that spoke of loss and feeling/being in the wrong place. It was a story set right here in Australia which made it feel familiar. With the characters mostly being from Africa it taught me a lot about different communities and cultures.

    Having just the one narrator did make the book easier to understand I feel.
    Eugen Bacon, such an amazing novel, thank you for allowing me to read the novel that I truly believe I was supposed to read and experience.

  5. Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Transit Lounge Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this very unique book.
    It is written like no other I have read but once you get used to the author’s style it starts to flow.
    Ch’anzu loses your job and her wife all at once and takes up a job opportunity in a migrant African settlement called, Serengotti. Here she finds people with more pain than she could imagine, they having seen and experienced more than anyone should in their lives.
    Many things happen around her amongst the residents but also within her own family.
    This book proves that everyone has a story but it is how you deal with it is always your choice.

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