Before this Dutch writer wrote this book set in Ethiopia she had already written three books. One of the other books was titled “Winter in Ethiopië”. I do not know what the relationship of this writer is with Ethiopia, but also this book is set in this country. Lalibela is the famous spot in Ethiopia where christians have created churches within massive rockformations. The first of these churches date from the 13th century. The order to start this immense work was given by the king Lalibela who governed his country from about 1205 – 1225. These Lalibela formation is a collection of 11 chruches, also called the 8th wonder of the world. Since 1978 this Laibela site has been put on the Woirld Heritage List by the UNESCO.

Let us go back to this book. It is a mixture of a travelogue, a kidnap and grief. The protagonist of this story travels to Ethiopia to visit friends of an Ethiopian in The Netherlands. She carries some goods for these friends with her.  But however this is not the main reason for her journey.The main reason is journey into the land of memories, not her own memories, but those of her late husband who often travelled to this country and who has been working there. During the journey many memories come back and in this way she is grieving. There is no plot at the end of the book.

This book is a beautiful book, memories and grief composed in a beautiful way.

(The copy of this book in my possession has a handwritten dedication by the writer for the “pastor at the farewell of Hans”. She describes this book as “this road of sorrow through Ethiopia”). 

Elsbeth Klein – Een richel bij Lalibela – Kampen 1997 – 152 pages

een richel bij Lalibela

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I enjoy reading about Africa. New books. Old books. By African writers. By non-African writers. Novel. History. Travel. Biographies. Autobiographies. Politics. Colonialism. Poetry.

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