What is the summary for Brazzaville Beach?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator


This non-chronological novel drifts fluidly between three phases of Hope Clearwater's life. As a doctoral student Hope falls in love with and marries the brilliant mathematician John Clearwater. Engrossed in mathematics, John loses sanity as he delves more frantically into his work. To save herself, Hope leaves the marriage; then John ends his life. She takes up work as a member of the Eugene Mallabar chimpanzee research team. Since her observations of chimp behavior reveal violent attacks as shocking as infanticide and cannibalism, her published work contradicts that of Mallabar who insists that chimps in the wild are peaceful. An angry disruption of their association leads Hope to a vanished lover's beach house where she looks for the definition of a purposeful life and of tranquility.

William Boyd - Biography

William Boyd is of English descent but was born and raised in Ghana. A child of African colonialism, Boyd received his doctoral degree in Philosophy and English Literature from Jesus College, Oxford. His credentials include receiving the English award of a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 2005 and honorary doctorates from four of Scotland's top universities as well as being a Fellow of England's Royal Society of Literature. His mastery of language is indisputable.

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