Paul arrived in Zambia in 1993 from the USA expecting to make his fortune in emeralds. He was surprised to find the nation plunged into mourning for the loss of the Africa Cup football team, when the players were killed in a bizarre accident.
Paul finds himself thrust into situations with unscrupulous characters and zealots wanting to capitalize on Zambia's recent release from its 30 year One Party Rule. Pulled into a web of deception and greed he finds camaraderie and passion when he meets up with a local colonial, Cheryl, a gentle, serenely wise beauty. Instead of relief from the drama surrounding him, he finds meeting her is only the beginning of his Zambian adventure. Adapting quickly to the lackadaisical happiness of the land of the Soli people, his rugged, handsome features and southern charm serve him well as he deals with the people, their culture, the poverty and death that covers their land.
Listen to Suzambia being interviewed by Kenny Gman about the book.
Review in the Zambian newspaper
Bulletin and Record:
Daze in Lusaka
In it but not of it
Review by Mel Phiri
Serendipity is probably the most fitting term for the appearance of Suzanna (Suzambia) Fisher's bookstores as our centenary year of Lusaka comes to a close.
The book is a light-hearted sketch tracing the fading culture of expatriates immediately before and over the couple of decades immediately after Zambian independence in October 1964. Dominating relationships are explained through the eyes of Cheryl, the ex-colonial returned. Historical events are interwoven with the aspirations of an archetypical intrepid American adventurer called Paul, questionable business operators and much of the stuff that Southern African fiction has come to be known for, including the spectra of AIDS.
The author takes license with familiar hames and locations making the tale open to more than a few readings between the lines. However, for me, the caveat in black-and-white that the book is "entirely fictional" anticipates the readier keeping an open mind and enjoying the storytelling for what it is.
The biographical lines blur when you have the opportunity to met the author, Suzanna, in person. Her experiences traverse four continents for about the same amount of decades. It could be taken that the novel represents personal closure on the romanticism of spending her formative years in Zambia. Especially since the author admits to having "taken ages" to finish the book even after regular visits. But personally she gives little away, while being generally bright and engaging on the challenges of writing and publishing.
Then there are the quotes that open each chapter which seem to speak closest of the author herself. Knowing the time and location of the novel so well, I found myself searching for a quote of my own to define our short meeting. I had chosen the venue - a small Chinese restaurant nestled in a leafy suburb of of Lusaka - clearly not part of her novel's setting. Again, totally my makeup, they were lyrics of the legendary Stevie Wonder that resonated best; "If you're in it but not of it, then God knew exactly where he wanted you to be placed!"
Finding a place for Ninety Daze in Lusaka and by association 'Suzambia' on your beside table should guarantee any true Lusakan a smile or two.
2nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook Awards
Ninety Daze in Lusaka by Susanna Fisher is a romp around Zambia with plenty of folks moving in and through a busy tale of an American in Africa. From the confusion of his arrival with Herbie the Hoser into a quest for emeralds and a world of exotic sights and sounds, Paul carries the narrative as he seeks to do the construction work for which he has contracted and look out for Cheryl his love interest found in Zambia.
The book is colorful in all ways. There is nothing ordinary or mundane for the average American reader in this volume. There is a constant struggling against the pace of the country and the lack of integrity of so many folks that Paul and Cheryl encounter.
The story is satisfying in describing the ninety days that Paul is in Zambia. There is plenty of action and interaction, travels and travails to plague his stay. The tale is very effectively capped with a double twist at the end that really fits. The pace is fast without loss of the thrust of the story. The quotes inserted at each chapter head add insight and continuity to the book.
This book is a fun read about exotic people and places. It is well worth the investment of a few hours to experience.