The Frozen Leopard

Part travelogue, part personal odyssey, The Frozen Leopard documents a trip to Africa that cured Aaron Latham (a celebrated practitioner of the New Journalism in the ’60s and ’70s and husband of CBS News correspondent Lesley Stahl) of a nasty case of writer’s block and a stubborn refusal to make peace with the spirit of his long-dead sister. In the metaphoric vein of Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro, from which it takes its name, the book combines tales of the Latham-Stahl family’s African excursion with reflections on writers Isak Dinesen and Beryl Markham and gorillaphile Diane Fossey. The author’s soul search is underscored by his need to determine why Africa affects its visitors so intensely; he gets his answer from the anthropologist Richard Leakey: ”Genetic memory.” Though Latham’s self-involvement can be intrusive and his revelations are sometimes hackneyed, The Frozen Leopard offers a vibrant, original portrait of African culture and wildlife, and confirms a literary talent worth rescuing. B-

The Frozen Leopard
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