The pope decides to lead by example, taking the provocative step of selling Vatican treasures to fund a long-term plan to build a strong middle-class society in Africa.
The novel opens with Vatican intrigue between liberal and conservative cardinals, which leads to the unlikely selection of an Indonesian pope. Seizing the opportunity, the new pope uses his ex-cathedra (papal infallibility) to declare poverty to be an immoral human condition. The pope decides to lead by example, taking the provocative step of selling Vatican treasures to fund a long-term plan to build a strong middle-class society in Africa.
The novel follows the pope, an ex-president of the United States, and an African nationalist during the first two years of an estimated twelve-year project to build a strong African middle-class society.
After a year-and-a-half of steady progress, the ex-president and the African nationalist realize they have miscalculated the costs of irrigating the African tropical savannas, and the project stalls. A brilliant, young, autistic project employee, originally hired to oversee the use of Africa’s natural resources, solves the irrigation problem, allowing the plan to continue moving forward. The autistic project employee later comes to the rescue once again when he clears the name of the ex-president, who had been falsely accused of bribery.
The author believes the fictional narrative of this unique story will show the need to stabilize Africa’s social order, infrastructure, and land use, which would result in an economic rejuvenation of the continent, eventually turning Africa into an agricultural giant.
1. You began to write after you retired. What determined you to start writing novels?
Fiction is much more interesting, in that I as the author, have the freedom to take a story in any direction I choose.
2. When social aspects are involved in a story, I believe an objective view based on deep knowledge of the relevant aspects is paramount. What research did you undertake for „The Man Who Transformed Africa”?
In the case of my novel, The Man Who Transformed Africa, was relatively clear. I had to research the Vatican in general, and especially the treasures in the Vatican museum. The other area to be researched was the procedures to take place during the selecting a new pope. Then in Africa, my research extended into the fourteen century to the present. African land use. Political history. the issues surrounding poverty. The violence that is currently taking place, as well as the general continental history beginning around the l950’s.
Developing an autistic character turned out to be an unexpected pleasure. In the outline of the story I developed, and also as I was building the autistic character, I had only wished I could have introduce him earlier in the story.
4. The book description says that you believe there is a need to stabilize Africa’s land use „eventually turning Africa into an agricultural giant”. All sound good, but what could be the downsides of this change?
The downside of turning Africa into a agricultural giant meant that the story could not, from a practical writing process, generally ignore Africa’s wealth of natural resources during the first two years of the popes project.
5. What do you think about today's young generation? Or about their reading habits and preferences?
Details, Details, Details. In my opinion today’s young readers do not seem to have the patience to read books that are large in page numbers; forcing writers to always consider short cuts when developing characters.
6. Please, let us benefit from your life experience. Give us a piece of advice about what we should pursue in life.
Now you are asking the difficult questions! After considering this question for quite a while, I’m afraid my answer is not going to sound very profound. However, always being honest in words and deeds would be a good way to live an uncomplicated life.
About the author:
Author Peter Cimini was born in New York City, in the borough of the Bronx. He attended both a Catholic elementary and high school. Mr. Cimini holds bachelor and masters degrees from New York University. He was a teacher both in New York and Connecticut, and served students twenty years as a curriculum specialist, overseeing and writing curricula. He is also the author of The Secret Sin of Opi, on the topic of missing and exploited children. His favorite novel is Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Author Cimini admires the works of writers Kristin Hannah and Nicolas Sparks. He lives in Connecticut.
The Man Who Transformed Africa is his latest novel.
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