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Book Details
   
   
African Metaphor         
African Metaphor
        
By Burton Porter
        
ISBN: 978-1-929763-73-3
        
Price: $14.95
        
Shipping: $4.00
        
African Metaphor takes the turmoil on the African continent as emblematic of the violence in the world at large. The book traces the journey of an American doctor, Noah Burke, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is part of Médecin Sans Frontiére, treating both the wounds of war and the illnesses of the equator. As a member of this group, he does not take sides in the armed conflict, although he realizes that by not acting he is acting by default. He is also ambivalent in his commitment; relieving the suffering of a few seems futile and arbitrary. The beauty of the Congo is contrasted with news reports of atrocities throughout the continent.

Noah grieves for his wife Sophia who died tragically in an avalanche in Colorado, and he has flashbacks to their life in Boston and idyllic trips to France. Her death precipitated his volunteering for Africa. But he begins a tentative relationship with Valerie, a British relief worker for the U.N. whom he meets on the river steamer to Kinshasa. In the end, she chooses to return to England where she has been offered a position in The Foreign Office, while he is left to decide if he will remain in the Congo.

All motives are mixed, but Noah`s intentions are relatively pure - empathy for the suffering and the desire to lessen some of the pain. He regards the medical missionaries as doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. Unlike them, his commitment has no ulterior motive. He tries to alleviate some of the misery, to do what`s right even though it does little good. In the end, he must decide whether he has done enough and can begin a new life with Valerie in London.
        
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