Read Venture to the Interior by Laurens van der Post Free Online
Book Title: Venture to the Interior|
The author of the book: Laurens van der Post
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 395 KB
Edition: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P
Date of issue: January 1st 1979
ISBN 13: 9780156935296
Read full description of the books Venture to the Interior:I was not far into the first part of this book when I started to feel suspicious. Laurens provides some context for his adventure in the form of family history, and what do you know? It's exciting on both sides. Maybe it's just the jealousy of someone whose pedigree can best be described as "peasants on both sides, all the way back" but this struck me as...possibly exaggerated. So I turned to trusty Google.
Perhaps it's ignorance, but I'd never heard of Laurens van der Post before picking up this book. And as it turns out, the controversy surrounding this man is almost more interesting than the book itself. It's possible that he lied about or exaggerated many of his experiences. His account of his family history on his father's side is one of the areas in which he may not have been entirely truthful.
Aside from his questionable honesty, it's not disputed that he treated women awfully. He had multiple affairs, abandoned his first wife and children, and took advantage of a 14 year old girl who was entrusted to his care, fathering a child with her and ruining her budding career as a dancer. Far from the wise and good man he portrays himself as in his writing.
After the questionable family history, almost 100 pages of the book are occupied by his travel by aeroplane from England to Nyasaland (modern day Malawi). More specifically, they are occupied by his crotchety-old-man-complaining about this newfangled means of travel. It's a common problem in books from this era, air travel being so new that the author must spend many pages in excited wonderment or grouchy longing for the good old days of slow travel, each of which tend to confound the modern reader to whom it's simply a normal part of travel.
If you can make your way through the tiresome air travel section, the narrative picks up from there and the book will become much more pleasant to read. Laurens, along with two white companions and an excessive amount of native bearers, explores mountain of Mlanje with its unique ecosystem and unpredictable weather. Here the tell-tale signs of untruth once again rear their head - Laurens in his great wisdom is able to pre-cognitively predict disaster and like Cassandra warns his companions against all mistakes, but alas! They don't listen. Disaster strikes but it is definitely super in no way saintly Laurens's fault!
After Mlanje, Laurens moves on to the Nyika plateau in the north of Nyasaland. Some of his descriptions of the scenery and wildlife are very beautiful and evocative.
The philosophical aspect which is supposed to be a big part of this book fell a bit flat with me. A lot of the philosophical asides seemed frankly nonsensical to me - they sounded deep on the surface but on examination it was impossible to figure out what Laurens was trying to say. One part that was clear, was that Laurens calls for peace and understanding between races, while in the same breath sexualising black people and romanticising their primitive, dark natures. Since the last book I read by a South African from this era was much more virulently racist, I guess Laurens gets a teensy tiny point for being a slightly less ridiculously racist?
To conclude, the latter 200 pages of this book are entertaining, if perhaps not strictly factual. The main value I got from this book was a little more understanding of the history and geography of Africa.
Read information about the authorSir Laurens Jan van der Post (aka Laurens van der Post) was a 20th century Afrikaner author of many books, farmer, war hero, political adviser to British heads of government, close friend of Prince Charles, godfather of Prince William, educator, journalist, humanitarian, philosopher, explorer, and conservationist.
Add a comment to Venture to the Interior
Read EBOOK Venture to the Interior by Laurens van der Post Online free