The Hunters by Kat Gordon
Publication: May 31st 2018 by The Borough Press
Length: 368 pages
Format: Paperback – Book Proof
Synopsis: A sweeping, coming-of-age story set against the richly atmospheric backdrop of colonial Kenya in the 1920s.
THE HUNTERS is narrated by Theo Miller, fifteen when he first arrives in the country, the son of the new Director of Kenyan railways.
Falling under the spell of the glamourous Happy Valley set, he is seduced by rich, reckless Freddie and enchanting Sylvie.
But behind their allure lies a dangerous cocktail of love, lust and betrayal that Theo must navigate and all the while, dark clouds are gathering over his family and fortunes as Africa changes around them.
Review: The Hunters is a book that makes the reader ask themselves some serious questions. I have to say, I was initially not impressed by the fact that a fifteen-year-old boy was hanging around with twenty-something friends, and not the child-friendly type. While following Theo’s story, we get to know his friends and it is easy to see that they don’t exactly have his best interest in mind.
More importantly though, reading about Europeans in Africa in the 1920s, even in a form of fiction, is somehow enlightening. Many of the issues pictured in this book are not things that I’m aware of all the time, and reading made me think about them. For example, what exactly was the relationship between natives in Kenya and the European guests? What type of family structure met with approval in this strange community?
I really shouldn’t be, but I was surprised by the injustice presented in the book. While most of the story maintain it focuses on Theo and his struggles over several years of growing up, there are a few mentions of the political situation in the book. The reader can learn so much from reading about opinions of different characters!
I definitely liked the rich descriptions of different people. While reading, I got to understand the motivations of most characters mentioned in the books, but furthermore, how they are seen by others. At times, the European community in Kenya seems claustrophobic – all of the characters seem to have similar social standing, all of them are awfully rich compared to the natives and they all seem to know each other.
Throughout the whole book, I found myself questioning the choices made by different characters. Perhaps the only person in the whole story that I felt at peace with was Maud, Theo’s sister. There are many moral dilemmas presented in the story and I think a lot of characters are put in question here mostly because of the indifference that they show towards the struggles of others, particularly the natives.
Overall, I focused on the more challenging parts of the book, but I believe it’s not a difficult read. The book presents some difficult questions, but not in a way which make it heavy. I really liked it!
Rating: 4 / 5