Taking place in West Africa (in Mali, Burkina Faso and Togo) in the 1980s, Hard As Kersene is the story of four years away from home for a young American. It contains war and tragedy and alcoholism.
When I first published Hard As Kersene, I did it without much editing and in a chapter order that, I am afraid, made little sense to anyone. I have redone it, seven years later, and am finally happy with it. It reflects my own experiences in West Africa but is not autobiographical… nor does it really conform to history. It does try to capture the American experience in West Africa.
Let me emphasize that: This isn’t a book about Africans, though there are plenty in it. I can’t really write about them, for my American background makes it difficult for me to reach into their complicated and extremely foreigh (to an American) psyche. This is a book about Americans away from “home.” It deals a great amount with Peace Corps, a great organization that may be destroyed through the pandemic.