Robert Ruark’s Something of Value is a gory and compassionate novel about Kenya that will fascinate readers and leave them with plenty to think about as well.
Something of Value by Robert Ruark
Doubleday, 1955, 566 pages. 1955 bestseller #6. My grade: A+.
When Kimani’s father lands in jail for failing to prevent midwives from killing a baby in accordance with native customs, Kimani blames himself: He brought a curse on his family by allowing Peter’s brother-in-law to slap him.
Kimani has to kill the white man to remove the curse.
Thinking he has murdered a white man, Kimani flees and stumbles into a band of renegade blacks.
The outlaws become a guerrilla army, the Mau Mau, poised to throw off white rule.
Kimani is one of their leaders.
Peter, meanwhile, has become a great hunter. When an overeager Mau Mau band slaughters his sister’s family, Peter finds himself hunting his boyhood pal.
Travel, adventure, history, romance, politics—all are within these pages.
Without being preachy, Ruark makes the point that whites deprived black Africans of their religion and gave them in sham Christianity in its place, leaving them with no moral compass.
Renewed interest in Africa—particularly by communist China—make this novel timely.
Compelling writing makes it timeless.
© 2015 Linda Gorton Aragoni