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When Mr George loses his job teaching English at a private secondary school in Bulawayo, �his pension payout, after forty years of full-time service, bought him two jam doughnuts and a soft tomato.� When he backs his uninsured white Ford Escort into a brand new Mercedes Benz, the out-of-court settlement sees him giving up his house to the complainant, Beauticious Nyamayakanuna, and becoming her domestic servant. Through the prism of this engaging post-colonial role reversal, and spiced with George�s lessons on Shakespeare, John Eppel draws down the curtain on one particular white man in Africa. But before it�s time to go, George will delight us with the antics of his literature classes; his various arrests � all timed to coincide with the police chief�s need for help with essays on Hamlet and A Grain of Wheat; his keen eye for flora and fauna; and the long trek back through the hundred years of his family�s Zimbabwean past, as he returns an abandoned child to her home. Eppel has satirized the racial politics of southern Africa in many of his previous novels. In Absent: The English Teacher he turns his gaze inwards for a generous and richly rewarding parody of the land of his birth.

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