Kuir ë Garang
Nile Press (2012)
ISBN 9780991678907
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (05/19)

“The Pipers and the First Phase” by author Kuir ë Garang is an intriguing story complete with an unusual plot and fictional countries that address political corruption and the demarginalization of African countries.

The story revolves around three men: Little Michael, Christopher Fox and Isaac Burns whose paths cross as each tries to figure out how best to enhance their life and stay true to themselves. Christopher finds himself out of a job, financially broke and is willing to do anything to get himself in the money again. He ends up begging Little Michael for a job, any job to put money in his pocket. Isaac Burns is an egotistical capitalist who attempts to hide his true intent by setting up corrupt philanthropic causes in Africa. Little Michael lives with his mother, has spent time in jail and finds himself involved in Africa with a militant group that is attempting a coup.

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The Pipers, a revolutionary group, has spies all over the place and attempt to show the three protagonists what it is like to be marginalized politically and racially. Through this group, the author does a good job of showing how we are often conditioned to think about Africa and African cultures.

I found the plot to be interesting, though its complexities made it difficult to understand the point the author was trying to make. At over 400 pages, it wasn’t until the last 50 pages readers find the whole purpose of the read, and the detailed description as to what purpose each played. The ending was quite surprising, though it took a while to get there. The story would benefit from a professional edit, as numerous grammar and formatting errors hampers the reading experience.

A former refugee of Ethiopia and Kenya during the civil war in Sudan, Garang speaks first hand of the hardships and demoralization of the African people. He provides a unique perspective into African history. If you have the time to take a slow read “The Pipers and the First Phase” by Kuir ë Garang is a thought-provoking, politically-charged novel.