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Finding the Source


Loved it! 😍

'The most gifted failure you might meet' and his (re)connection with African traditions

Finding the Source: One Man's Quest for Healing in West Africa by Dave Kobrenski sends readers into the places where the physical and the spiritual worlds collide. From the school years, the author rebelled against the dull, standardized morale of the West. By surfing, taking mountain hikes, and using different substances, he searched for the meaning of life and his place in the general order of things. Eventually, Africa, with its music, dances, and secrets, won over his heart - and cursed him with immense everyday pain. After two decades of futile treatment and a doctor's verdict - surgery and the following disability - the author took a desperate tour into the depths of Africa to find himself - or die trying. 

The book has a lot to offer if one wants to immerse in the memoirs. The combination of wide knowledge and colorful language goes hand-by-hand with relatable prose. Unobtrusively, a reader learns about traditional African musical instruments, ankylosing spondylitis (an autoimmune disease), and opioids in modern medicine. The author demonstrates a creative approach to the memoirs' structure: using two timelines, one starting from childhood, another in some moment of the past. At some point, the two fast-pacing timelines connect into one that seems more detailed and, thus, slow. It depicts every motion and thought of the author and can be named the most revealing part of the book.  

I recommend the book as a full of surprises prelude to exploring cultures that one day may disappear. I didn't look into the author's previous two sketchbooks depicting African sacrificial rituals and practices. But if the author could convey sweltering heat and the sounds of the drums in words, I expect illustrations to drown a reader in African originality. 

I received an advance review copy through Reedsy Discovery, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Reviewed by

I've a Bachelor degree in Slavic languages and cultures, with the first specialty in Russian language and literature, the second the Bulgarian language. I've been interested in history and politics for more than 20 years. Occasional fiction is my respite from the unbearable heaviness of being.

A Departure

About the author

Dave Kobrenski is an artist and musician who loves a good adventure and travels to West Africa frequently. When he’s not traveling, he makes art and music, builds flutes, writes and illustrates books, and hangs out with shamans and healers whenever possible. view profile

Published on March 21, 2022

Published by Artemisia Books

130000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

Reviewed by