AFRICAN PARADISE by Jill Morsbach
Kim Hastings, a freelance editor living in Cape Town, undertakes a gruelling and lifechanging journey with her eleven-year-old son, Gregory, to the war-torn Horn of Africa, in search of the boy’s half-Somali, half-Arab father, Gregor, who has been missing since before the son was born.
As twenty-year-old students at Cape Town University, Kim and Gregor have a short and passionate liaison before Gregor makes a hasty return to the New Kingdom of Punt (a fictitious state in northern Somalia) when a local clan war breaks out. The lives of his English foster parents, who live in Punt, are at risk. Kim only discovers she is pregnant after Gregor leaves, and conceals the real facts of her relationship from her son. Gregory’s discovery of the truth precipitates the search for his father.
There has been no word from Gregor for twelve long years. Kim and Gregory have no idea whether he is alive or dead. What they discover when they finally make it to Punt, accompanied by a friend of Kim’s brother, seems at first to be an idyllic African paradise. But piece by piece the fabric of illusion is shredded, until the three of them are confronted by terrifying and unpalatable truths.
African Paradise is a story of Africa, part fiction, part fantasy, combining a journey of discovery with a tale of hardship, superstition, power-seeking and, finally,
self-sacrifice. Innocence dies but not love: of a woman for her son, her brother and a man whose selfless heroism illuminates the African night
I am a retired teacher of English with an Honours degree from Rhodes University and some experience in journalism (media liaison work). I live in Durbanville (outside Cape Town) with my husband Wolf Morsbach, the retired Director of the Provincial Department of Nature Conservation (now Cape Nature). lill recently we travelled extensively to the South African game parks.
I have now taken up writing as a hobby, and nature conservation is a recurring theme in my work. In 2009 my first novel for children, a fantasy story entitled Shaka’s Computer, was published by Shuter & Shooter in Pietermaritzburg. Subsequently they have published more of my work: The Smallest Planet and The Pachyderm Tree (both 2010), Capture the Light (2012) and Professor Philander’s Diamond (2013). In addition I have written several plays and short stories which have been published in Shuter’s Top Class Readers for English, First Additional Language.
In the recent past, two of my short stories for adults have been published in separate South African anthologies. My first full-length novel for adults, African Paradise, is due to appear in 2018, together with a novel for teens, Flight, and a novel for younger children entitled Secret Mission in the Cederberg. All to be published by Publishing World, SA.