Outstanding travel narrative about a journey up the Congo river: superbly evocative writing in the tradition of Paul Theroux and Bruce Chatwin
At thirty-three one's direction in life should be clear, and mine was not.' In search of some direction, or at least a new challenge, Jeffrey Tayler gave up his day job of opening rejection letters from publishers and went exploring. Having always been fascinated by Africa and the great age of Victorian exploration he went to Kinshasa in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and found a boat to take him up-river to Kisangani, deep in the heart of the jungle. Not content with that, he then bought a pirogue (a kind of canoe), hired a guide and set out to paddle the 1,000 miles back to Kinshasa.
A personal journey, an intrepid voyage, an exceptionally well-written travelogue: FACING THE CONGO is all these things and more. A wonderfully vivid and exciting read for armchair adventurers everywhere.
The exquisite sheen and might of the Congo itself flow through the pages of Jeffrey Tayler's account. His triumph is his ability to carry us deep into the very heart of Africa, negotiating like an old river-hand the eddies and curves of the dark enigma which is the Congo. There's a rare truth here, the grip, grind and mystery of the African forest, expressed not through a lurid tale of explorer antics, but through Tayler's heroic sensitivity to the everyday lives of river people. Here, in all its sweltering majesty, is the real Congo - the clicking, swirling intensity of one of the greatest of all rivers, as it moves timelessly through the lives of the crocodiles, fishermen and bandits who inhabit its feted shores. - Benedict Allen, author of LAST OF THE MEDICINE MEN and INTO THE CROCODILE NEST
A fascinating record of an often breathtaking journey. Tayler's account is also an incredible adventure story - TLS
A gripping account - BELFAST NEWS
Captivating reading - SUNDAY TIMES
A stirring adventure story, observantly told - SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
Immensely gripping - Bill Bryson