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Book Signing and Reading of Black Tropics

Feat. Author John Bagnole

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Former Ohio University Lecturer and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer John Bagnole will be at the Savannah African Art Museum on Friday, November 22nd to do a book event.


Mark your calendar: 2:00–4:00 pm for a talk, reading, and book signing related to his satirical literary novel, Black Tropics, set in the Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), West Africa.

You can purchase a copy of the book in advance at the bottom of the page. 



WARNING: This book contains some vulgar language and graphic sex.

***Space is limited so please RSVP in advance to reserve your seat

Friday, November 22th  2019     |   2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

John Bagnole hails from East Orange, NJ. He holds degrees from George Washington, Johns Hopkins, and Georgetown. His Peace Corps years led to a career spanning 40 years, teaching English in Washington, D.C., Libya, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and at OPIE, Ohio University. He is an avid reader, cinéphile, book collector, and amateur Egyptologist. He lives with his exotic wife in Savannah, where he is striving to fend off beatification and canonization and misses his grown daughters.

About the Author

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Book Synopsis

“In the beginning, the jungle had its way with me.” So begins the incredible saga of a young Peace Corps Volunteer, who finds himself teaching English in a remote hinterland school in the Ivory Coast in West Africa. The year is 1969, a time of ethnic turmoil and political uncertainty. Into this whirlpool of anxiety drops John Bagnole, who arrives with no cross-cultural training, weak French skills, and limited competence in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Told with careful plotting, a keen wit, no-holds-barred farcical humor, and a well-honed, colorful, and sometimes bizarre vocabulary, the narrator’s unsatisfactory training background turns out to be the least of his problems, as he must deal with an anti-American French director, an amorphous gang of vicious pedophiles and gold thieves, the toils and dangers of life in the jungle, and an array of physical, emotional, and psychological tests of his mettle. What was expected to be a glorious two-year teaching and travel experience turns into an endless series of hijinks, misadventures, illusory romances, and death-defying encounters with illness and a cavalcade of good, evil, often peculiar, and memorable characters: a one-armed, scarified, albino Vatican policeman-cum-priest; an adorable young nun on the verge of leaving her order; fun-loving French girls teaching at a nearby mission school; the teaching staff of the local collège; a pied noir musician who suffers from lack of an instrument; seductresses of many colors and hues; a host of religious clerics; superstitious Africans bent on challenging and fending off magic spells from sorcerers, soothsayers, shamans, ancestral spirits, protector spouses, and animist spirits inhabiting l’Au-Delà (the Beyond) as well as the forbidden portions of the rainforest. As he makes his way in this totally alien society—only slightly assisted by Peace Corps staff and the inscrutable Dr. Black—our PCV narrator, armed with only his idealism, a positive outlook, a taste for pastis, a warm smile, and his manhood, discovers that he has embarked on a voyage of self-discovery that will test his resolve to do good, as he finds himself ineluctably heading for disaster and becoming intimately involved in an evil plot, so sickening and so disturbing, that he feels compelled to take action, himself, to end it once and for all!

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