A Story Like the Wind and A Far-Off Place

A Story Like the Wind is not strictly a dog book, but, since one of the central characters is a magnificent Rhodesian ridgeback, Hintza, the book belongs on this barkshelf. A Far-Off Place is the sequel

A Story Like the Wind is beautifully written and evokes a long-gone era in southern Africa. Francois is growing up in a remote part of the bush, the only “European” child for miles around. His parents have unconventional views of the white man’s role in Africa, and their large, successful farm is a collaborative effort where the African workers are also part-owners; they are also family to Francois. A typical coming-of-age narrative, the book builds to a shocking, and rather abrupt, end. Throughout, Hintza plays a key role, often protecting Francois, always the first to notice anything unusual or dangerous, and always a loyal and loving companion. Francois and Hintza have similar romantic taste as well, both developing crushes on the same girl!

It’s a slow read, loaded with elegant descriptive detail, but worth the effort.

A Far-Off Place continues the tale, with Hintza playing a crucial role. The communication between Francois and Hintza is even more remarkable in the sequel. They share such an intimate connection that they expertly read each other’s body language; in addition, Francios speaks to Hintza in complex sentences, using a combination of African languages. Their understanding of each other is nuanced and sophisticated, evidence of a close bond.

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