Monday, May 21, 2012

Nonfiction Monday: Dan Eldon Safari as a Way of Life

Dan Eldon: Safari as a Way of Life Jennifer New

Dan Eldon was the son of an American mother and a British father and he grew up in Kenya. Throughout his life, he was always creating art, most notably in his journals (which have been published separately.) He traveled extensively throughout Africa and in the 80s, effortlessly crossed the continent's notable class and race lines. In 1993, while working as a photojournalist in Mogadishu, a mob killed him after an American airstrike killed many elders, women, and children. He was 22.

While writing this book and her previous biography of Eldon, Dan Eldon: The Art of Life, New interviewed over 100 of Eldon's friends and family. The young man presented in these pages is one of endless energy and impossible schemes that easily become reality, a talented artist who was just starting to really find his way.

What most readers will notice right away is the striking design-- laid out to mimic Dan's journals, it is filled with his artwork, photographs, page spreads, and words (in full color.) I was most struck by the ones that are mostly paintings, although many are collages of his friends and family, interspersed with ephemera, words, and drawings.

I would have liked a little more context to really paint how stark the race and class issues were when and where Dan was growing up. A little more explanation of what it was like to be white in Nairobi and going to a largely ex-pat school would be helpful.

Today's Nonfiction Monday roundup is over at Apple with Many Seeds.

Book Provided by... the publisher, for Cybil's consideration.

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Perogyo said...

Third-culture kids always fascinate me. Sad that his life was cut so short.

Tammy Flanders said...

I reviewed this book a while back and found it fascinating. The art work was also intriguing making me want to see more.
Thanks for contributing to this week's Nonfiction Monday event.
Apples with Many Seeds