Nigel Barley

A Plague of Caterpillars

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Nigel Barley returns to Cameroon on hearing that the elaborate and fearsome Dowayo circumcision ceremony, performed at six or seven year intervals, is about to take place. Yet, like much else in this hilarious book by the author of The Innocent Anthropologist, the circumcision ceremony proves frustratingly elusive, partly because of an extraordinary plague of black, hairy caterpillars.
In the meantime, witchcraft fills the Cameroonian air, a man is lied to by his own foot and an earnest German traveller shows explicit birth-control propaganda to the respectable tribespeople. Beneath the joy and shared laughter in this comic masterpiece lies skilful and wise reflection on the problems facing people of different cultures as they try to understand one another.
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185 printed pages
Original publication



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