I just finished reading “The Last Resort” by Douglas Rogers only a few minutes ago, and I felt the urge to write this review. The book is quite a good read, and it is really entertaining the way Douglas Rogers recalls his life in Zimbabwe in the past decade or so, back when it was known as Rhodesia baguio hotels.
While the book has won two awards as a travel book, but I do not really consider it a travel book. I did not find the book to be a guide or a travelogue to the area, but more of a life story of the incessant affliction in Zimbabwe during the 21st century. The book tells the story of the struggle of white farmowners in a land where the regime is desperately trying to hold onto power by every means possible.
The story is set in far south-eastern Zimbabwe, in a farm outside of Mutare and revolves around the author’s family. Apart from being a traditional farm, the farm also had a bar by the name of “Drifters” in the offshoot and chalets, which caused it to become more of a tourist location. The story tells you of the fear looming over Roger’s parents, that their farm might slip out of their hands. However, right when you think their farm will be taken away from them; you will be astounded by how the Rogers escape their certain fate.
One of the reasons I quickly became fond of this book is because of the bareness of Roger’s own character. Douglas Rogers acknowledges his discontent about returning to Zimbabwe after the previous parliamentary elections when the situation throughout the country had gotten out of control. He recalls his casual, unexpected meetings with local powerbrokers, giving you an honest insight that he had no other choice but to appease them. The book also has its chilling moments, such as the incident in the diamond fields when he got into a quarrel because of his “impetuous nature.”
One of the things that particularly captivated me was the extent of the desperate situation in Zimbabwe back then. Rogers exclaims that the world’s attention now seems to be drawing away from Zimbabwe, since the present situation in the country has slightly improved. Nonetheless, my views of this country, its regime and its situation back in the 21st century have been reinforced after reading this book.
In my opinion, this book wasn’t much of a travel guide, yet I do recommend it simply as a book that is entertaining and interesting to read. While the book is not entirely humorous, but it is still filled with bits and pieces of humor, which will leave you laughing even in the face of adversity.
You will have to read the book to find out what is going on exactly and what the author is trying to portray, while giving you an insight to the story of his life. As long as you are not expecting this book to be a travel novel such as those by Colin Thubron or Paul Theroux, you will not be disappointed after reading this book.
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