Kate's Profile

Writers: Kate Nivison

  • Izzie Kaufeler

    A gradual grower...

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    Intrigued by the blurb and the writer's tags and comments, I was entirely sure what to expect from this book. I found the beginning a little slow and hard to get into as I don't have any specific knowledge or personal experience of colonial/ ex-pat Africa. However, the writing style is engaging and as you get further in and the characters and plot develop you become more comfortable with the setting and more involved in the story. The issue of colonialism and the intentional and unintentional legacies and aspirations of ex-pats is particularly interesting while the religious tension which grows throughout the book is both topical and thought provoking. This book has left me wanting to know more about a variety of relevant subjects and curious to read other works by the same author.

  • Mark Goreeph

    The Wine is Red

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    Like Izzie I found the first few pages a trifle slow but when the narrator started talking about what it was like being an agnostic and married to a priest, I got hooked. An intersting viewpoint and a nice touch of tension between the chacters. Enjoyed the descriptions of Africa, the people, the energy of it all. Reads very authentically.

  • Valerie Stephens

    The Wine is Red

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    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Only problem with an on-line book is that you can't carry it around with you and I wanted to keep this one with me. It conjured up a world I don't know and can never know but thanks to this book, would recognise instantly. Believable characters, believable plot. You can smell and taste it. Marvellous stuff. Only just misses five stars.

  • Heidi Polk

    Fairly interesting tale, with some beautiful descriptions of Africa

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    I've always been intrigued by the factual and fictitious experiences recounted within expat and within colonial narratives and so I was very interested in reading this work... I thought the story was well-written; the descriptions of Africa and the different kinds of people that one might encounter within its environs was believable and eye-opening... I loved the fact that the characters were complex and had contradictory, conflicting thoughts and feelings - Nivison really succeeds in demonstrating how easily disparate people from all different walks of life can be united and divided in what seems to be the blink of an eye (and also how easily what can seem the very tiniest of occurrences can impact you forever)... My only criticism would stem from the fractured narrative that dominates the storyline - I _liked_ hearing about Clare's past and her memories and I think that there is ample room within the narrative for both the past and the events in the present that she is ex...I've always been intrigued by the factual and fictitious experiences recounted within expat and within colonial narratives and so I was very interested in reading this work... I thought the story was well-written; the descriptions of Africa and the different kinds of people that one might encounter within its environs was believable and eye-opening... I loved the fact that the characters were complex and had contradictory, conflicting thoughts and feelings - Nivison really succeeds in demonstrating how easily disparate people from all different walks of life can be united and divided in what seems to be the blink of an eye (and also how easily what can seem the very tiniest of occurrences can impact you forever)... My only criticism would stem from the fractured narrative that dominates the storyline - I _liked_ hearing about Clare's past and her memories and I think that there is ample room within the narrative for both the past and the events in the present that she is experiencing...but I disliked the switches between the first- and third-person narratives - I felt the transitions were perhaps not as smooth as they could have been and that the flip-flopping that occurs detracts from overall immersion within the story (especially since there seems to be some overlap in sections switching back and forth)... However, despite my (minor!) irritation at the narrative devices the author employed, I still felt the story was very interesting and chock-full of ideas and questions that we (as a global community) should all be discussing... (more)

  • Diane Wynne-Fitzgerald

    The Wine is Red

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    Intriguing and beautiful descriptions, good character profiles.

  • maggie champkin

    The Wine is Red

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    This book is a thought provoking and exciting story. As a former expat from West Africa it brought back many fantastic memories. It rang really true to life. I felt I was back there again! I can really reccomend this book, I can't wait to find out what happens next.

  • adinah thomas

    want to give it 5 stars

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    A beautifuly crafted, elegant and wiity book, full of warmth, compassion and knowledge of the subject.The caharcters are fascinating and leave me with an urge to know them even better - it opened a raft of experiences totaly new to me, especially the deep relationship between Clare and Richard. A book I shall read again and again.

  • Jim Daly

    Lasting love in a changing Africa

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    While reading this novel, the thought struck me that it could never have been written by a man. Defensiveness would have crept in somewhere to blur the realism. Only a woman could have written something as unflinchingly true as ’The Wine is Red’. The story is of one woman’s love affair with West Africa and a Catholic priest. Clare is in love with Richard and suspects that he is in love with her; but that is as far as things have ever gone. Clare takes the opportunity to make a nostalgic return, sans husband, to the place where she worked as a teacher, to see what has become of the place and the people she knew; but the real reason is to find out if the love she still feels for Richard is returned. Finding out does not prove to be easy. While this slow dance is played out between them there is the matter of a civil war threatening to erupt and lay waste everything they have worked for. The book plunges you into the hearts and minds of its characters; and into the heart of their par...While reading this novel, the thought struck me that it could never have been written by a man. Defensiveness would have crept in somewhere to blur the realism. Only a woman could have written something as unflinchingly true as ’The Wine is Red’. The story is of one woman’s love affair with West Africa and a Catholic priest. Clare is in love with Richard and suspects that he is in love with her; but that is as far as things have ever gone. Clare takes the opportunity to make a nostalgic return, sans husband, to the place where she worked as a teacher, to see what has become of the place and the people she knew; but the real reason is to find out if the love she still feels for Richard is returned. Finding out does not prove to be easy. While this slow dance is played out between them there is the matter of a civil war threatening to erupt and lay waste everything they have worked for. The book plunges you into the hearts and minds of its characters; and into the heart of their particular darkness: the dispelling of their dreams of a bright future for the children they educated, and the mortifying of their own personal desires. It is all laid out, at times painfully, at times with stoic humour. The story of a class of people and a vanished way of life is touched upon here; of service that does not draw attention to itself or expect much in return, except the chance to continue to serve; attributes that were, we once liked to believe, a distinctively British kind of ordinary heroism; but the class of people who demonstrated them, as the priests Richard and Tom do in the novel, are all but gone. If new heroes emerge out of whatever Britain is now becoming, it is unlikely that they will bear a resemblance to Richard Kerrigan. His kind seem almost as distant to the milieu of contemporary Britain as the ancient Greeks. The book has many wonderful moments, but highlights for me included the elderly priest Tom’s brief discourse on passing the honour and burden of wearing the missionary’s soutane to the young African priest, Linus. I found this quiet little exchange very moving. The whole book, in a sense, is exactly this kind of passing on of the baton from the best of the Brits left from the colonial era to the best of the Africans, both of whom try to step over the trip wires of politics and corruption, in order to help those it is in their power to help. But most of all, the book is a tribute, a fictional love letter, to one man. Clare and Richard’s latent love affair is a highly charged business; but to speak in detail would be a plot spoiler. In his priestly role, the wise humanity of Richard, unclouded by dogma, is demonstrated best near the end of the book, in his way of consoling the faithful Baba, and his family. It is fair to say the book is a ‘slow-burn’, but earns the reader’s patience with a powerful climax in the final third of the story. If the reader stays with it, they are well rewarded. To some degree most novels leave you feeling cheated, the majority mere confections or illustrations of the writer’s prejudices. ‘The Wine is Red’ is the real deal, a rare gem of honesty and hard-won insight, deserving of a wide readership. (more)

Average Book Rating

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