Readers' Reviews

How grateful I am for the encouragement I have been given by many who took the trouble to write.  Here are some early contributions. Thank you.

You have a remarkable way with words, and bring to life the joy, adventure and sometime challenge of expat life, amongst the backdrop of big skies, natural beauty and political tension and upheaval, in an extremely engaging way.  It certainly makes me wish I had travelled more in my youth. Jeremy Banks, Caldicott, Bucks

The epigraph at the start of Gold Cuff Links is one of Thomas Traherne's Poems of Felicity and the sense of the mystery and the glory of life which Traherne celebrates informs this concise and finely written memoir. The Dedication at the front of the book is to those who missed the fun. The book is written in such a way that the reader feels at every turn that he is sharing in the fun that he also missed and accompanying the author on his life's journey.
Derrick Swain's seemingly almost total recall of this expatriate early stage of his rich and varied career is remarkable and his account stands as a tribute to the many friends that he and his wife made as well as to a way of life which has passed. Dr Alan Gelson, Cambridge

 Yesterday evening I finished reading the most captivating book I have read for a long time. Beautifully written in flowing language, easy style to read, fascinating story line.  Robin Dawson, Great Brickhill,  Buckinghamshire

Really enjoyed the book, and reading of your experiences in Zambia and St Lucia, having known you’d lived there but never knowing the stories. Touched to read your words about  the interesting business challenges you went through. As a very frequent business traveller in the Pre-C19 world I was struck by the parallels of us both having had large parts of our careers in a world very changed now.  That said I’m going to try the chocolate vs plain cookie technique next time I’m interviewing. Neill Becker, Kent

What a splendid book.  From it I leaned more about Zambia and St Lucia than I have from any other source.  It was the author's intimacy with the people and the country that really made things come alive.  It was quite scary to think how close we came to never having this book-or the author himself, for that matter-when he was swept out to sea.  A believer in serendipity would suggest that things are meant to happen, such as the fisherman who happened to come along at the critical moment.  I think I now understand Africa better. David Price, Co. Clare

Have read it and quite simply it's brilliant....for those of us who were there.... especially as very little has been written about those early post independence days....if you weren't there Derrick gives an accurate insightful personal account of those days and shows how we  benefited from the life experience we all gained in Zambia . Highly recommended. Richard Harper, NSW, Australia

Derrick Swain’s excellent book paints a clear picture of the life in independent Zambia. After Independence in 1964, the Zambian Government sensibly did a lot to encourage expats to come to the country to help develop the economy. The book demonstrates the excellent multiculturalism of life on the Copperbelt. We made life-long friendships, supporting each other as we started our families, with no parents or relatives to help. My congratulations to Derrick for writing so well about a little recorded time in post independent Zambia. It shows that work was challenging but also very rewarding, that there was also time for great adventures, exploring this wonderful country and its friendly people. John Blackburne, Norfolk

There's more!!!

As someone who was an expatriate in Zambia during the 70’s I can vouch for the accuracy of this excellent memoir. Derrick writes fluently and well, engaging the reader with his depiction of life as an expatriate, the challenges and difficulties but also the sheer fun and fulfilment of being part of the birth pains of a new republic. There are great insights into managing a business in Africa and a sensitivity to the local environment. This was an exciting time to be in Central Africa and the book does a brilliant job of recreating the feeling of what it was like to be part of it.  A very enjoyable read written with humour and a lightness of touch David Hampshire, UK

A School Governor, A South African

I very much enjoyed reading the story of Derrick’s early working life. His recall of details is amazing and I liked that he included the political and economic background of the places he was living in. As we are of a similar age it was interesting to compare what he was doing with my own memories of the time and I look forward to a sequel. Though I can’t imagine that his life in England could have been as adventurous as in Zambia or St Lucia. Mary Wimlett, Kent.

I loved the book! An excellent piece of work, gosh you write well, Derrick. I wish my parents were still alive and able to read it too.  I look forward to your novel!. Trudi Piper (nee Lumsden), Johannesburg.

A City Planner

Its an extremely entertaining and informative account about two very particular places and times, just post-empire, of which I (and I suspect most British people) know very little.

Your recollection of detail (down to the many dinners and drinks enjoyed!) is positively Pepysian – you must have also kept a diary ? It also deserves to be quoted by future historians of the period. Congratulations. Simon Ogden, Sheffield, Yorkshire

A Retail Executive A Nurse

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your account of your time in Africa and later St Lucia.

Your wonderful description of that beautiful country lies against the background of the changes that were taking place at that time.

The excitement of the challenges ahead in a new country – the culture, climate, food and its people.

Having been an expat for a number of years I could appreciate many of those wonderful experiences you had and have to say that this is a must read for all who wish to about real life, not fiction. Peter Brawley, Leics

I could not put the book down once I started. Janet Weisters, Lancs

A Banker, A Fruit Farmer, An American

This book was an excellent read. It covers a very interesting period in some exotic locations. The book keeps a very good pace..

RA Kent, Sevenoaks, Kent

 I loved your book.  The descriptions of Africa were wonderful, one forgets what a great place it is. Kay Still, BOP, New Zealand.

Very interesting, lots of colorful characters and lots of adventures. A truly different way of life from what this American has experienced! Michelle Pennington, Rome, Ga, USA

 

 

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