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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In Mukurob by Andre Costa, Father David Callaghan has become disenchanted with his life and the morals of humankind after the brutal murder of his childhood friend, Karen, by violent extremists. He searches within himself to find peace and questions the decisions he has made in his life. David takes a sabbatical from the church and travels to the Kalahari Desert to volunteer with a group of anthropologists studying the oldest known tribe of people in history. The San people date back 20,000 years and their values and beliefs about their fellow man and spirituality are a fascinating insight for David. His fellow scientists also have profound questions for David which force him to take stock of his life and future. David has travelled a long way to search for his own Garden of Eden, and the answers to why humanity has become so disjointed. Will he find what he has been searching for in the wilderness of Africa or have the answers been with him all along?
The author has very cleverly introduced some interesting and thought-provoking philosophical questions through this engaging adventure story. The characters are extremely diverse, each with strong and engaging personalities. The protagonist, David, was extremely likable; he had flaws but he was willing to learn from not only the San tribe, but also from the scientists he met. Jack was also a fantastic character. I loved his zest for life and his view on the world was refreshing. The San people had a terrific belief system which incorporated spirituality into their lives without judgement of others, and where there is no deity or hierarchy. I have never read a story of this quality which engaged me on so many levels, both spiritually and emotionally. There are some excellent quotes and viewpoints from the characters as they try to make sense of mankind. ‘Beauty ends when we become accustomed to it.’ The questions David is asked by his companions could be asked of us too. Could we sometimes be ignoring all the options open to us in life? I feel anyone who reads this book will be changed for the better after reading it. The sermon by David in the Epilogue was just the icing on a unique, memorable novel.