Archive - December 4, 2011

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Review of Abigail Fay's Novel, Running in Flip-Flops

Review of Abigail Fay's Novel, Running in Flip-Flops

Running in Flip-flops by Abigail Fay (Senegal 2007–09) A Peace Corps Writers Book $12.75 (paperback) 299 pages 2011 Reviewed by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993–96) THE TITLE, RUNNING IN FLIP-FLOPS, CAUGHT MY ATTENTION because it indicates doing something improbable, if not impossible, as does the title of my own memoir, Roller Skating in the Desert. In this novel Fay captures the classic Peace Corps Volunteer experience of trying to fit into a very foreign culture; tolerating the tedium of daily village life that includes rituals of long greetings and strange social mores. The protagonist, Shannon, suffers the discomforts of unrelenting hot weather, lack of sanitary comforts, unfamiliar foods, physical illnesses and irritating behavior from unwitting locals. She is frustrated when she visualizes  beneficial projects that people in her village cannot seem to implement.  Her counterparts, Ibou Diop and Ndey Sekk, however, help her win some victories, such as building latrines . . .

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