“A charming love triangle in Nairobi, Kenya, forms the center of a novel that manages to be both sweet and gripping.” —Publishers Weekly
For the past three years, Mr. Malik, a widower and avid birdwatcher, has been secretly in love with Rose Mbikwa, the lovely woman who leads the Tuesday morning bird walk sponsored by the East African Ornithological Society. Beneath his unassuming exterior and carefully sculpted comb-over lies a warm and passionate heart. But just as he gets up the nerve to ask Rose to the annual Nairobi Hunt Club Ball—Nairobi’s social event of the season—a boyhood nemesis arrives and becomes equally enraptured with Rose.
Rather than force her to choose between them, the two men agree to a clever solution: whoever can identify the most species of birds in one week’s time will win the privilege of asking Ms. Mbikwa to the ball. Set against a lush Kenyan landscape rich with wildlife and political intrigue, this humorous novel is a “welcome respite from our crazy world” (USA Today).
“This charming novel . . . If you are a fan of Alexander McCall Smith’s, you’ll find Drayson’s knowing, sprightly writing just as entertaining.” —People
“[This book is] a sheer delight for birders and nonbirders alike.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“As bright and perky as a purple-backed sunbird.” —TheNew York Times Book Review
“[A] quietly beguiling new novel, A Guide to the Birds of East Africa . . . Reads like transplanted Wodehouse.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“[E]nchanting . . . Readers will find themselves buying copies for all their birding friends.” —Birding Business
“Nicholas Drayson’s engaging new novel . . . [A] quiet, gently humorous tale.” —National Geographic Traveler
“A lighthearted novel about birding and a wager to win the right to call a woman for a date.” —Kirkus Reviews
“While the reader is pulled along by the suspense of the contest, the glorious sights, sounds, and smells of Nairobi provide lovely rest stops along the way.” —Library Journal, starred review
“A Guide to the Birds of East Africa will appeal to Alexander McCall Smith fans, but definitely stands on its own and will beguile any reader who appreciates sharp wit and gentle charm.” —Shelf Awareness
Nicholas Drayson has written extensively about wildlife and natural history; he is also the author of Confessing a Murder, which was hailed by Booklist for its “view of Darwin never before seen.” An Englishman by birth, Drayson lived in Nairobi for two years.