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A MILLION STONES - MIQUEL SILVESTRE

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A MILLION STONES CONTAINS FOURTEEN AFRICAN COUNTRIES, THREE THOUSAND STARS AND A PRINCESS

There are only two types of guys: those who seek a long life and those who aspire to a long life. The first ones play it and the second ones get stiff. They can be winners, but never heroes like the first (who with unfair disdain are also called romantics).

A fed up man, a motorcycle, a beautiful and stunned land. With these ingredients, Miquel Silvestre has left his stories of ironic realism for once and has embarked on a journey through Africa. From Nairobi to Cape Town, from Maseru to Maputo, he has traveled fifteen thousand kilometers of jungle, savannah and desert: ten countries, bribery at the borders, rivers, mountains, antelopes, three thousand stars and the Skeleton Coast. He chewed his fear, spat blood and drank a lot of beer.

This odyssey is full of adventures and risks, of seedy hotels, potholes, dust and sand, and people who survive in shanty towns stunned in the galbana. There is landscape, peasantry… and passion.

But not compassion, which is the comfortable refuge of the strong to anesthetize the conscience before the pain of the weak. It is true that there are not many sunrises in the Serengeti, nor hardened alpha males dispatching lions and elephants among the mines of King Solomon, nor the hiss of the black mamba. In return, on each page there are a couple of stories that give goosebumps and spit on the topics. There is a lot of cynicism and no imposture. It is a hard book like loneliness, hopelessness and truth.

A solo trip without porters or babysitters. He has been able to tell it despite the colitis, the bandits and the broken bones, because when he travels, a man only arouses pity everywhere. With sarcastic humor, the most cyberpunk author of Iberian literature draws in sober and transparent lines a harsh land in which life is worthless and where the survival of the traveler depends on his stainless spirit, decent Samaritans and good luck. Also the speed of reflexes to run away in situations where the boundaries between stupidity and heroism are blurred. In these pages there are not the snows of Kilimanjaro, the sunsets in Serengeti, the photogenicity of the Masai or the ferocity of the Zulus.

There is also no onegero colonial complex or sweet aftertaste of memories of Baroness Blixen at the foot of the Ngong Hills. All that is just literature or, at best, history. But there are native voices that tell stories of simple beauty in one of the starkest areas of the planet. Without sentimentality and full of naked poetry, the traveler is moved sometimes and always moves us.

Miquel Silvestre's look has little syrup and a lot of humor. There are many bribes in this book, and beer and chicken rice in disgusting places, but behind that toughness a sensitive, disenchanted and just guy always shows through, a good guy who doesn't consider himself better or worse than the rest. It is the book on Africa that Humphrey Bogart would have written.

Gonzalo Ugidos

Book in Spanish.

Hardcover: 220 pages.