It’s by no means straightforward for a white Brit to create the first-person narrative of a traumatised African man. It’s especially bold or crazy — and won’t sit easily with all readers — when you have him do things such as apologise to the family of a murdered English missionary for what his (African) people have done to this (white) man. Glen is just about able to pull it off, thanks to her obvious investment in her characters and commitment to making their trials relevant to us all. She has the talent to make Parfait a convincingly serious, sweet, clever and funny person who ends up carrying the story. Where Augusta is just another one of those quirky girls in novels who hate their stupid parents, Parfait is an epic hero: an artist, a real traveller and a repository of dark secrets.