By Audrey Schulman
Europa Editions, $16.00, 353 pages
At the end of 1899, Jeremy, an engineer, arrives in British East Africa to oversee a major railroad-building project. He quickly finds that two lions are killing the men he’s bound to protect. Charged with hunting down these unusually powerful animals, Jeremy relies on Otombe, an African guide. As the lions’ killing continues and Jeremy’s secrets become harder to hide, Jeremy realizes that he’ll experience unbearable loss in Africa — and find an opportunity for a previously unimaginable new life.
A hundred years later, in the final weeks of 2000, Max, a brilliant scientist with Asperger’s, is invited to Rwanda to hunt for a potentially life-changing vine, hidden in the habitat of a group of endangered mountain gorillas. Facing a constant threat from the violent Kutu tribe and forced by close quarters and danger to overcome her inability to connect with her colleagues, Max, like Jeremy, seizes the chance to make a new version of a life she thought she knew.
Brilliantly written, with exceptional descriptions of Africa, Three Weeks in December is a gripping, unforgettable story of lives that undergo unexpected changes when they’re freed from the bounds of home.
Reviewed by Margo Orlando Littell