When Margaret Laurence's husband, a civil engineer, was engaged to create a chain of artificial lakes in the deserts of Somaliland, she set out with him to a district of Africa that few women had ever visited before and that exists almost unchanged as it has for a thousand years. For the next two years she lived in the desert, often the only white woman in camp, and gradually she came to know something of the life of the nomadic, camel-herding Somalis and to have a deep respect for these desert people whose life is an incessant struggle for survival in a barren land. In her vignettes of camel drivers, cooks, rootless European laborers, and Colonial administrators, she shows a novelist's ability to create memorable characters in a few vivid lines. From her account of droughts and dust storms, of long months of searing heat, and of the brief and tender flowering of the desert spring, there emerges a picture of a land of harsh but strangely satisfying beauty, and of a people whose courage and endurance give them great dignity. There have been many travel books about Africa, but Margaret Laurence has produced something different-a journey into the heart and character of a people.
Used availability for Margaret Laurence's New Wind in a Dry Land