"It has been agreed by the two members now before us, Mr. Malik and Mr. Khan, that they will make a Wager. The winner of that Wager will have the privilege of asking Mrs. Rose Mbikwa to the Nairobi Hunt Club Ball of November the twenty-fifth coming."
"The substance of the Wager is as follows: That starting at noon tomorrow, Saturday October fourteenth, and finishing at noon on Saturday October twenty-first, each protagonist will make a list of all bird species he is able to identify at first hand. The protagonist able to identify the highest number of species during these seven days will be judged to have won the Wager."
Finally! A book set in Africa that isn't sad and doesn't involve war or genocide. In fact, this book is the complete opposite. It's charming, and witty, and has an old-fashioned feel that made me smile. I was rooting for "brown, short, round, and balding" Mr. Malik throughout. I also liked Rose. And Khan makes for the perfect antagonist. (He's Malik's childhood nemesis.) And as a birder myself, I really enjoyed the whole birdwatching aspect. While the pacing of this novel is slow like a lazy summer afternoon, the quirky characters and the captivating glimpses of Kenyan life that it offers definitely makes it worth your time.