When a Crocodile Eats the Sun by Peter Godwin
A Memoir of Africa

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Synopsis

After his father's heart attack in 1984, Peter Godwin began a series of pilgrimages back to Zimbabwe, the land of his birth, from Manhattan, where he now lives. On these frequent visits to check on his elderly parents, he bore witness to Zimbabwe's dramatic spiral downwards into the jaws of violent chaos, presided over by an increasingly enraged dictator. And yet long after their comfortable lifestyle had been shattered and millions were fleeing, his parents refuse to leave, steadfast in their allegiance to the failed state that has been their adopted home for 50 years.
Then Godwin discovered a shocking family secret that helped explain their loyalty. Africa was his father's sanctuary from another identity, another world.
WHEN A CROCODILE EATS THE SUN is a stirring memoir of the disintegration of a family set against the collapse of a country. But it is also a vivid portrait of the profound strength of the human spirit and the enduring power of love.
 

About Peter Godwin

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Peter Godwin is the award-winning author of When a Crocodile Eats the Sun and Mukiwa. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, he was educated at Cambridge and Oxford and became a foreign correspondent, reporting from more than 60 countries. Since moving to Manhattan, he has written for National Geographic, the New York Times Magazine, and Vanity Fair. He has taught at Princeton and Columbia, and in 2010 received a Guggenheim fellowship.
 
Published April 10, 2008 by Back Bay Books. 352 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for When a Crocodile Eats the Sun

Kirkus Reviews

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Zimbabwe's disintegration in the hands of ruthless dictator Robert Mugabe, recounted in careful, beautifully crafted prose by a journalist born and raised there.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of When a Crocodile Eats the Sun...

The New York Times

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If Peter Godwin’s new book about Zimbabwe is part family memoir and part bulletin from the barricades, then these two streams converge at a portent so ominous it takes your breath away: “A white in Africa is like a Jew everywhere — on sufferance, watching warily, waiting for the next great tidal ...

Jun 17 2007 | Read Full Review of When a Crocodile Eats the Sun...

The New York Times

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Peter Godwin gives us a searing account of what has happened to the besieged and battered land of Zimbabwe in the last 30-odd years.

May 18 2007 | Read Full Review of When a Crocodile Eats the Sun...

The Guardian

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Victoria's Empire, Victoria Wood, Fanny Blake and Frank Welsh, Hodder, £7.99 This travelogue, written to accompany the BBC television series in which Wood travelled to outposts of the British Empire that took their names from her royal namesake, from Victoria, Nova Scotia, to Zambia's Victoria Fa...

Nov 18 2007 | Read Full Review of When a Crocodile Eats the Sun...

The Guardian

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When a Crocodile Eats the Sun by Peter Godwin 416pp, Picador, £16.99 The title of Peter Godwin's memoir refers to the way some remote tribespeople explain a solar eclipse: a celestial crocodile briefly consumes the sun to demonstrate its displeasure with man.

Mar 31 2007 | Read Full Review of When a Crocodile Eats the Sun...

The Guardian

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When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir by Peter Godwin Picador £16.99, pp342 Peter Godwin mentions often in this memoir that Africa is his home, that he is a white African, and that one day he will return to live in Zimbabwe, the country where he was born in the days when it was called Rhodesia...

Mar 04 2007 | Read Full Review of When a Crocodile Eats the Sun...

Entertainment Weekly

journalist balances the personal and the political on a return visit to his Zimbabwe home in the moving memoir Sun

Apr 13 2007 | Read Full Review of When a Crocodile Eats the Sun...

The Bookbag

Summary: Peter Godwin chronicles the collapse of Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe by holding it up as a mirror to the last years of his father's life.

Nov 30 2012 | Read Full Review of When a Crocodile Eats the Sun...

PopMatters

Moments later, when Godwin sees his father, he finds himself “examining him for stereotypical Jewish features.” The father has a much more vivid and haunting past than the son ever knew.

Sep 20 2007 | Read Full Review of When a Crocodile Eats the Sun...

Monsters and Critics

A hauntingly beautiful, seamless blending of past and current events come together as journalist Godwin comes to grips with his father’s deteriorating health and eventual death that in a way, parallel the collapse of Zimbabwe.

Apr 17 2007 | Read Full Review of When a Crocodile Eats the Sun...

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