Stumbling towards a nearby shanty town, Isaac runs into Amen, an old school friend involved with the military wing of the ANC, who insists he should train with the MK in Angola. Instead, Isaac looks for a job in Gaborone’s Old Village and finds a gardening role working for Alice, an American lady whose marriage is crumbling. Raised under apartheid, Isaac is disorientated by a country in which blacks speak to, love and work alongside whites.
Alice encourages Isaac to make a garden by following his instinct, and their mutual understanding grows. The diurnal problems of the whites rasp against the unspoken backdrop of his deeper, lasting tragedy. Then Alice’s marriage finally ends. Trusting Isaac to look after her house, she embarks on a trip into the interior.
Both are looking for a future and when Alice falls for wildly unpredictable Ian, her life re-blossoms. Back in Gaborone, Isaac’s disintegrates. South African soldiers cross the border, raid a number of Botswana lean-tos and shoot Amen’s wife. Returning to the shack to collect hidden money intended for the education of his siblings, Isaac is arrested, accused of spying and returned to the country from which he so recently escaped.
An emaciated White Dog greets Alice on her return, half starved, still faithful. Distraught, Alice sets out to look for Isaac, refusing to believe he would have forsaken the dog. When she finds he is being tortured she struggles to have him freed before it is too late.
White dog fell from the sky weaves together Isaac and Alice’s stories in strikingly vivid scenes laced with lyrical language. Sentences are short, flashing with color, choked by dry dust, made tense by thunder and slaked by long-awaited rain.
About the author
Eleanor Morse, a graduate of Swarthmore College, spent a number of years living in Botswana in the 1970s. She earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from Vermont College.
Her novel An Unexpected Forest (2007), published by Down East Books, won the Independent Publisher’s Gold Medalist Award for Best Regional Fiction in the Northeast U.S. and was also selected as the Winner of Best Published Fiction by the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance at the 2008 Maine Literary Awards.
Morse has taught in adult education programs, in prisons, and in university systems, both in Maine and in southern Africa. She currently works as an adjunct faculty member with Spalding University’s MFA Writing program in Louisville, Kentucky. She lives on Peaks Island, Maine
Available: Penguin Books
Price: R 200