Race Against Time
It's not good in the way a novel is good, in that it takes you away from your real life. Race Against Time does that, but it takes you to a place you'd probably rather not go; a place you're lucky you don't have to visit, let alone inhabit. Still, it's a necessary read, and an urgent one. Lewis laboured over this book, keeping his publisher at bay as long as he could in order to make the book—and thus the Massey Lectures it's based on—as current as possible. The result is an often depressing account of AIDS in Africa and the continent's state of emergency at the hands of the disease. But Lewis is driven, relentless, intelligent and insightful. And, ultimately, optimistic. His passion and integrity are in every word, and though the subject matter may fill you with despair, you could do much, much worse than to spend a few hours in his company via this book.
category: best of 2005