Walking on Dry Land, By Denis Kehoe

A weaving of Angola's past andpresent comes apart at the seams
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Denis Kehoe's Nights Beneath the Nation (2008) was an impressively accomplished first novel in which he skilfully tacked between present-day Dublin and the city in the 1950s.

His second book turns on a similar conceit, alternating between the story of Ana de Castro, a Portuguese woman searching for her biological mother in Angola, and an account of her parents' affair 30 years earlier. But Kehoe's weaving of past and present is less successful here.

Though the evocation of a broiling, pre-civil war Luanda is vivid enough, the historical chapters lack dramatic incident, and as a result, the reader's interest wanes before the end.