PLOTMungo Park was an explorer, embarking on his first trip to Africa funded by the African Association in 1794. During this time Africa was still considered to be a very dangerous place for exploration and travellers. Mungo Park’s first novel describes the conditions and discovery that Mungo comes across- whilst travelling towards the Niger River.
Mungo begins by telling the readers of his journey to Africa- although he does not linger on his experience of the ship. He jumps straight into his first glimpse of Africa and the people inhabiting it. His novel is concerned with the display of hospitality from the natives, or more prominently the lack of!
Mungo’s novel is based upon his journey and what he encounters on the way. This includes stories the natives tell him- for example the harsh truths of the West African traditions called ‘Mumbo Jumbo’. Mungo come across many dangerous exploits and becomes a hostage of the renowned ‘Moors’- however, will he escape and finish his journey?
Rating 4*- This is another novel that surprised me. The historical and cultural aspect of Mungo’s journey is fascinating and involves so much content that was first discovered on his journey.
In using his personal stories he brings his text to life- straying away from the guidelines set by other travellers of the time, he produces a very different text. Knowing this was a real journey undertaken by a lone man, it is easy to relate to the dangerous setting and Mungo is determined to not return home until he has completed his exploration.