Friday, February 27, 2009

Acts of Faith

The third of Julia’s book reviews.

Acts of Faith by Philip Caputo

Caputo’s novel delves into the soul of Africa as his characters seek to know their inner selves and find their way in the turmoil of Sudan and the upheaval of civil war.

Ethics, faith, friendship, and humanity are tested time and time again as Caputo’s fast-paced novel traverses the continent and characters seek means to sustain themselves and create meaning in a world gone terribly awry.

The title Acts of Faith alludes to the unseen forces that compel characters to act; interestingly enough, some act in their own best interests while others are faithfully serving their God/Allah and acting altruistically.

The poverty, unsafe living conditions, the roles of missionaries, UN aidworkers, religious conflicts, slavery, civil war, racism, and other issues are clearly presented and stay with the reader long after s/he has finished. Descriptions of the land and the people, along with a rich cultural consciousness, make this novel particularly intriguing.

This book could be used for a variety of discussions addressing the conflicts in Africa and the impact of the wars on citizens of Sudan or Uganda. Again, the violence, deaths, and sexuality warrant a mature audience. For those interested in Africa, missionary work, the problems of war and human corruption, relationships, and love, this text has much to offer; it takes a commitment to see it through—but the conclusion is well worth the effort!

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