Books: African Comedy

A TIME TO LAUGH (191 pp.)—Laurence Thompson—Messner ($3.50).

At 17, Gadein was a stringbean of a Negro tribesman, simple and guileless as a calf, awkward as a young camel and endlessly tolerant of abuse. He wore an iron ring through his nose, and around his waist a belt of lizard skins and tinkling bells. His father Abu Zed, was the potbellied chief of three African villages, and he was thoroughly disgusted with Gadein. Smaller boys outran him and outfought him. The village girls and, indeed, the whole village, laughed at him. "Here comes the lunatic!" the young men would roar. On the...

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