In this installment of Page 69,
we put Lance Cross's Diary of a Man Being Driven Around Africa on a Truck with Some Other People to the test.
Ok, Lance, set up page 69 for us.
On Page 69 of Diary of a Man Being Driven Around Africa on a Truck with Some Other People the truck has just arrived in Mali after leaving Mauritania. The passengers weren't able to drink alcohol while in Mauritania so they are camping at the first bar in Mali they find (which isn't actually a campground) so they can have a glass or two (or three, or four).
Steve didn't drink quite as much as everyone and so isn't having a good time of it. Gareth, his tent buddy, has not had enough cigarettes (but drunk enough beer) to put him in a grumpy mood too.
What is Diary of a Man Being Driven Around Africa on a Truck with Some Other People about?
Diary of a Man Being Driven Around Africa on a Truck with Some Other People follows Steve, as he endures a five-month trip down the west coast of Africa on an overland truck. He is supposed to be on a short luxury trip through Spain but there is a mix up with the tour company and his options are going home or taking the longer, more arduous journey. Steve agrees to the longer trip because his girlfriend, Sofia, doesn't think he could hack it (and he may have taken too much flu medication). Steve has never wanted to go anywhere near Africa, but refuses to get off the truck as he doesn't want Sofia to think he is a quitter.
As Steve passes through Morocco, Mauritania, Mail, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Namibia and South Africa he has to deal with eight other passengers and a grumpy truck driver while trying to deal with Sofia via text, phone and e-mail, as she's not too happy he's in Africa for five months.
Do you think this page gives our readers an accurate sense of what Diary of a Man Being Driven Around Africa on a Truck with Some Other People is about? Does it align itself the book’s overall theme?
This page certainly gives an accurate sense of the annoyances and danger Steve faces on his journey as he's still not happy to be on an overland truck in Africa and he's still getting to know his fellow passengers.
It doesn't quite align with the overall theme as he's not questioning why he's really on the journey, and he's just recording or reacting to the events happening to him at the time.
Diary of a Man Being Driven Around Africa on a Truck with Some Other People
‘Craig,’ said Gareth. ‘Can we skip cooking tonight?’
‘Because the food won’t be appreciated as everyone’s going to be smashed by the time it’s ready.’
‘Yeah. I can’t see a problem as long as you ask people politely to buy their own food.’
Gareth stood in the centre of the circle of drinkers.
‘Right,’ shouted Gareth. ‘We’re not fucking cooking tonight so you’ll have to buy your own fucking dinner. All you fuckers okay with that?’
People agreed to get their own dinner.
I searched for something local to eat after leaving the weary travellers to get ever more sloshed. It wasn’t a substantial town and it didn’t take long to circumnavigate to find someone in the street barbecuing meat in an old oil drum.
The younger folks had consumed more of the amber liquid than me and thought it would be a wheeze to play Def Leppard for eight hours straight. Doof-doof music was also pumping from the bar, making it a super fun night.
On my way to the tent I passed several of the group sitting on stacks of bald tyres in the
campsite and heard Liam say, ‘I didn’t punch a nun. I was only accused of
punching a nun.’
No, I did not want to know. I went to bed.
Day 28, Monday – Burning Down The House
Gareth’s sleeping mass was trying to take as much room as the tent would allow (again) and I was being squashed. I usually only discovered it when I awoke in the morning to find myself curled in a corner of the tent, although the music kept me awake.
And I could smell smoke. Why could I smell smoke?
I felt heat on my back and when I turned I saw flames licking their way up the side of our abode. The tent was on fire.
Lance Cross lives in London, UK, although is originally from New Zealand. Diary of a Man Being Driven Around Africa on a Truck with Some Other People is his first novel, but he is hoping it is not his last.