Malaria Dreams by Stuart Stevens

Malaria Dreams

Malaria Dreams is a tale of high adventure across Africa, recounted with the wit and humor that delighted readers of Night Train to Turkistan, Stuart Stevens' highly praised first book. "A rollicking, off-beat African odyssey".--Publishers Weekly.

Details Malaria Dreams

TitleMalaria Dreams
Release DateJan 13th, 1994
PublisherAtlantic Monthly Press
GenreCultural, Africa, Travel, Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Adventure

Reviews Malaria Dreams

  • Mitch
    Malaria Dreams is a book about the author and his friend's trip from West Africa to the Mediterranean in a questionable car, and it's well written. So why the one star?I like adventure travel and adventure travel books better than the next guy usually- depending on who the next guy actually is, of course. But this book? The whole idea for the trip sounds like it was inspired by a malaria nightmare and the reality of it was even worse.I've read a ...
  • Blair
    My friend and I are trying to plan a trip to Africa next year, so my new project is reading travel memoirs that take place in Africa to familiarize myself a little with travel there and things we might want to do or see. This book was fun and a very quick read. It's the story of a man who road trips from Bangui, Central African Republic, to Algiers, Algeria, on a three-month long trip. Lots of fun stories about misadventures, cultural differences...
  • Joel Thimell
    What a funny, absurd, eye-opening adventure. Reading "Malaria Dreams" was like an immersion into a world designed by Kafka and ruled by Murphy's laws.The book rang very true for me. I hitchhiked from Kenya to S. Africa about the same time and encountered the same bewildering mix of corrupt govt. officials and generous individuals: with one set of rules for Africans and another for Westerners. I had to bribe my way out of Tanzania (where the borde...
  • Tito Quiling, Jr.
    Although I had high hopes for this book, seeing how the back cover mentions a rather "off-beat" type of narration through Central Africa, the succeeding chapters prove that the views towards the safari, and the people they met along the way were quite dated to the point that it seems to take for granted how the culture affects the transient with more depth. The speaker seems to be a haughty individual who starts out with a thirst for adventure, b...
  • Tom Callens
    This guy is probably my favorite writer. He has the rare ability to convey wit in through the written word.
  • Bertie
    Not as exciting as I thought it would be, the writer’s funny at times and he gets into some interesting escapades but there’s a lot of better books out there on Africa.
  • Laura
    This is a fun but frustrating read as the journey is nicely depicted but the circumstances in the text do not match the blurb on the book I was reading. The reason given for the journey is very weak and we know Stevens just wanted to have another book to sell and make some money. He is talented but this is light reading. The best point of the book is to learn a little bit about African geography and politics, etc.
  • Pamela (Lavish Bookshelf)
    What’s the difference between a study of current events and a study of modern history? In college we used to say the difference was 20 years. Anything more recent was considered current events. Anything older was timeworn enough to be in the history books. Maybe 20 years is a worthless guideline in this instant digital age, but it’s still probably an applicable criteria gauge.So keeping this 20-year rule in mind, Malaria Dreams by Stuart Stev...
  • Trina
    This book was my first introduction to travel writing, and possibly the first piece of nonfiction I'd ever read that I actually liked (!!!), and it was a hoot to read back in 1994 when I was an excited and impressionable high school sophomore in World Geography class. In a way, this class was my first foray into (unknowingly) studying anthropology, and I really did well, despite taking the class to avoid taking World History (we had a choice betw...
  • Joe
    One day, while the author is hanging out with his friend in London, the friend mentions that he has a car in the Central African Republic, just waiting for someone to drive it back to the UK. What could go wrong?Obviously, everything, or else this book would be pretty boring. Everything breaks, the author and his companion don't have good maps or an understanding of how things work, they get mistaken for smugglers: good times.I was hoping this bo...
  • Brenna
    In this adventure, a dodgy acquaintance of Stevens asks if he would like to go to the Central African Republic to retrieve his Land Rover, and drive it to France. Amazingly (though really not so surprising, considering the craziness of his earlier Chinese adventure) Stevens agrees. He drafts an attractive female friend into the adventure, and the two of them set off.Immediately they run up against the patent corruptness of African governments: so...
  • Emily
    It was a while ago that I read this book, but I do remember thinking that some of Stevens' experiences in Africa were remarkably similar to my own. The story is of a man who goes to Africa in an effort to fetch a car for a friend and drive it back to Europe. What ensues is an adventure that lasts months, covers thousands of miles, and leaves the author with great stories and hundreds of ant bites. It's written with quite a lot of humor, a major l...
  • Deborah
    I found this book at the library while scanning the shelves for travelogues about Africa. Stevens wrote this book in the late 80's about his sojourn in Western Africa that begins in the Central Africa Republic. The first half of the book chronicles Stevens' experiences in CAR as he attempts to liberate a LandRover from the grips of the Ministry of Mines. This section was especially interesting to me and moving because CAR is currently imploding i...
  • Mary
    I enjoyed reading this, and I think it was a pretty good description of how one tries to get things done in Africa, without getting too cute or finding everything too funny. A bit more background would have been appreciated - why did he do this, how much prior Africa experience had he had - and it ends rather abruptly. A map also would have been useful. This did take place 25 years ago, so it would be interesting to understand how the countries h...
  • Lauren
    Very funny book about the misadventures of an American traveling through Africa to pick up a car for an acquaintance. I guess I have to consider this just a travel book, because there were no deep thoughts coming from the author--just wry, sarcastic observances. He never revealed how he really felt about anything (and lots of positively crazy things happened), and never revealed much about himself. More than halfway through the book we finally di...
  • Sue
    Stuart is asked to travel to CAR to retrieve a Land Rover that this acquaintance would like to have in Europe. Stuart agrees and the adventure begins. Thoroughly enjoyable and frequently humorous. Although I daresay that some of the incidents likely didn't seem humorous at the time. Had to laugh at all the times they were told that something was an easy fix that would take no time at all. Africa time in all its glory! Also enjoyable from the poin...
  • Lindsey
    This was pretty dated, but it was still fun to read someone's impressions of Cameroon (and West Africa in general) from twenty years ago. Some situations were hard to imagine, but there were other moments that still rang true. For example, just as I was reading a section about hassles with African bureaucracy, a police officer came to our beach hotel and started insisting we fill out various forms and present our IDs. :)
  • L.J.
    Good travel writing and well paced. Reviewing the book from memory their are passages I still remember (especially a funny encounter when trying to sleep on top of the Land Rover and the consequences thereafter). Stevens' has a straight forward and easy going approach to the subject of his travel and I appreciate this style in travel writing, not embellishing how much danger was involved or cynicism that is often found in developing nation travel...
  • Stacia
    This is my most favorite book of all time. It cracks me up everytime I read it! Stuart Stevens is my favorite author, and I had the good fortune of meeting him in Congo. If you've ever traveled in Africa or a developing country, I think you will appreciate this book. It's about his trip from the CAR to Europe by landrover. He has a very sarcastic sense of humor. I really recommend this one. Makes me laugh just thinking about it.
  • Aaron
    This was a page turning travel story of trying to get from Chad back to the Mediterranean. The book was recommended to me by Stephanie when I was last in Nairobi. This is a weird travel story in that there are large lacuna in the story itself. Stuart Stevens, as it turns out, and is also an unusual character with it interesting history in political campaigning. I liked reading it to think about how such a journey has changed or not changed since ...
  • Diane
    The first three paragraphs were enough – it is exactly the tone that I most dislike in travel writing – “Oh gee whiz, I ain’t done no preparation at all – do ya think it will matter?” Is was then I realized this was written by the same person who did the awful Night Train to Turkestan book and I knew it would not improve.
  • Elliot
    While this book is a bit dated, it's amazing how much of the nearly 20 year old book about traveling West Africa I found relevant to my life in Mozambique. The book is also quite funny, and parts of it had me laughing quite loudly as I stayed up unreasonably late to read just a few more chapters before going to sleep.
  • Linda
    fun read--should have read it before first trip to africa but don't know if i would have believed it until i actually had the experiences that are described oh so succinctly and humorously in this short novel. actually read this one twice to re-live the trek across multiple african countries and allow a grin to cross my face.
  • Gwen
    Stuart Stevens goes to Central African Republic to get a Land Rover. After weeks, it is obvious that we will not be able to get this vehicle so shops and buys another one and then drives to Algiers. He has a lot of plunk and what makes the book interesting is how he achieves this route with all the vehicle difficulties. Otherwise, there is not so much content.
  • Carl
    This book is now somewhat dated, but the adventure is still fascinating. I had it on the bedside table for months and dipped in and out of it. It does end with a bit of a clunk. I was unsure whether they actually delivered the Land Rover and what happened to them afterwards.
  • Nicole
    I thought this book was hilarious - the author describes the trials and tribulations of his travels across northern africa and the fustrastions of a westerner navigating the burearacy of the social system to accomplish that goal
  • Kylie
    I lived in Africa. Africa haunts me even today and I love to read books about Africa.This one is a fun, comedic experience of one person in the 1970s but his experience was similar to mine in the 2000s. Probably best for people who have been to or lived in Africa.
  • Susi
    Any writer who's gone to the Central African Republic and writes about it, gets four stars just for having the guts to go. The first time I read this book was in 1992, when I lived in Bangui, but I read it again recently and found it just as entertaining the second time around.
  • Karen M
    Was recommended this book from a friend - Book was full of flat one dimensional characters that could have been cut out from a child's coloring book. Bad books like this are only good, in that they encourage me to finally write my darn book!
  • Karol K
    Hilarious and believable. I really enjoyed this book. So much humor and hi jinks that I am glad I was not there. You have to be really young or really a hippie or too much adventurous to drive a car thru the Sahara to Europe. Loved reading about the African continent and its people.