Three Weeks in December (Paperback)

Staff Pick Logo
Three Weeks in December Cover Image

Staff Reviews

Everything about this extraordinary novel is beautifully rendered. Its parallel narratives follow a closeted structural engineer on assignment to build a railroad from the coast of East Africa, circa 1900, and a young female ethnobotanist with Aspergers on a mission to find a rare vine in the highlands of Rwanda, habitat to one of the last mountain gorilla clans, circa 2000. Gripping as their stories are, the real centerpiece is the raw sensuousness of East Africa.

— Margaret S.

February 2012 Indie Next List

“Two stories set in Africa a century apart create a beautiful depiction of the fragility and delicacy of life. Jeremy, a railroad engineer at the turn of the 20th century, and Max, a botanist entering the 21st, contend not only with their personal demons but also with the environment and wildlife that threaten to overwhelm their world. This is compelling writing that shows the constant tension between humans and nature and how the balance is swayed by the slightest of factors.”
— Bill Cusumano, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, MI


In 1899 Jeremy, a young engineer, leaves a small town in Maine to oversee the construction of a railroad across East Africa. In charge of hundreds of Indian laborers, he soon finds himself the reluctant hunter of two lions that are killing his men in almost nightly attacks on their camp. Plagued by fear, wracked with malaria and alienated by a secret he can tell no one, he takes increasing solace in the company of the African who helps him hunt. In 2000 Max, an American ethnobotonist, travels to Rwanda in search of an obscure vine that could become a lifesaving pharmaceutical. Stationed in the mountains, she closely shadows a family of gorillas, the last of their group to survive the encroachment of local poachers. Max bears a striking gift for understanding the ape's non-verbal communication, but their precarious solidarity is threatened as a violent rebel group from the nearby Congo draws close.

About the Author

Audrey Schulman is the author of three previous novels: Swimming With Jonah, The Cage and A House Named Brazil. Her work has been translated into eleven languages. Born in Montreal, Schulman now lives in Massachusetts.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781609450649
ISBN-10: 1609450647
Publisher: Europa Editions
Publication Date: January 31st, 2012
Pages: 349
Language: English