The Scent of Eucalyptus

By (author): Daniel Coleman

The fair-haired child of Canadian missionary parents, Daniel Coleman grew up with an ambivalent relationship to the country of his birth. He was clearly different from his Ethiopian playmates, but because he was born in Ethiopia and knew no other home, he was not completely foreign. Like the eucalyptus, a tree imported to Ethiopia from Australia in the late 19th century to solve a firewood shortage, he and his missionary family were naturalized transplants. As ferenjie, they endlessly negotiated between the culture they brought with them and the culture in which they lived.

In The Scent of Eucalyptus, Coleman reflects on his experience of “in-between-ness” amid Ethiopia’s violent political upheavals. His intelligent and finely crafted memoir begins in the early 1960s, during the reign of Haile Selassie. It spans the king’s dramatic fall from power in 1974, the devastating famines of the mid-1970s and early 1980s, and Mengistu Haile Mariam’s brutal 20-year dictatorship.

Through memoir and reflection, The Scent of Eucalyptus gives a richly textured view of missionary culture that doesn’t yield to black-and-white analysis.

AUTHOR

Daniel Coleman

Daniel Coleman was born and raised the child of Canadian missionary parents in Ethiopia, an experience he has written about in The Scent of Eucalyptus: A Missionary Childhood in Ethiopia. He moved to the Canadian prairies in the 1980s and completed his PhD in Canadian Literature at the University of Alberta in 1995. He went on to publish scholarly books on Canadian immigrant writing and on how Canada became a white, British place. Since 1997, he has lived in Hamilton, Ontario, where he teaches Canadian Literature at McMaster University.


Reviews

As the blond child of Canadian missionary parents, Daniel Coleman grew up with an ambivalent relationship to Ethiopia. He was obviously different from his playmates, but Ethiopia was his birthplace; he knew no other home. Like the eucalyptus, a tree imported to Ethiopia from Australia in the late nineteenth century to solve a firewood shortage, he and his missionary family were naturalized transplants. As ferenjie, they endlessly negotiated between the culture they brought with them and the culture in which they lived.

Coleman’s richly textured picture of missionary life transcends either-or analysis. His perceptive chapters touch on everything from the riot drills at his Addis Ababa boarding school to the paradoxical taste for luxury he acquired as a result of international famine relief. Interwoven with accounts of Ethiopia’s political and religious turbulence, this intelligent and finely crafted memoir throws a transformative light on relations between races, cultures, and faiths.


“Engaging and thought-provoking.”
Globe and Mail

“An intelligent and nuanced look at the missionary experience, layered with sharp insight and poignant reflection … frank commentary on cultural dynamics.”
Edmonton Journal

“Daniel Coleman’s vivid memoir of Ethiopia has relevance for today’s NGOs … Fascinating … Coleman vividly relives emotions as well as sensations and reveals his own spiritual struggles.”
FFWD

Awards

There are no awards found for this book.
Excerpts & Samples ×

The fair-haired child of Canadian missionary parents, Daniel Coleman grew up with an ambivalent relationship to the country of his birth. He was clearly different from his Ethiopian playmates, but because he was born in Ethiopia and knew no other home, he was not completely foreign. Like the eucalyptus, a tree imported to Ethiopia from Australia in the late 19th century to solve a firewood shortage, he and his missionary family were naturalized transplants. As ferenjie, they endlessly negotiated between the culture they brought with them and the culture in which they lived.

In The Scent of Eucalyptus, Coleman reflects on his experience of “in-between-ness” amid Ethiopia’s violent political upheavals. His intelligent and finely crafted memoir begins in the early 1960s, during the reign of Haile Selassie. It spans the king’s dramatic fall from power in 1974, the devastating famines of the mid-1970s and early 1980s, and Mengistu Haile Mariam’s brutal 20-year dictatorship.

Through memoir and reflection, The Scent of Eucalyptus gives a richly textured view of missionary culture that doesn’t yield to black-and-white analysis.

Reader Reviews

Details

Dimensions:

300 Pages
8.5in * 5.5in * 0.6in
450gr

Published:

September 23, 2003

Publisher:

Goose Lane Editions

ISBN:

9780864923745

Book Subjects:

BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / General

Featured In:

All Books

Language:

eng

No author posts found.

Related Blog Posts

There are no posts with this book.

Other books by Daniel Coleman

Yardwork

By (author): Daniel Coleman