Giraffe is the debut novel by J.M. Ledgard although it is the second book of his that I have read. I forget why I initially read Submergence, but afterwards I wanted to read something else by Ledgard and I figured his debut was a good a place as any to look.
Giraffe is technically based on a true story, but it definitely falls into the historical fiction category more than nonfiction. His writing style is descriptive and had me looking up words every now and then. I think part of that is him being from Scotland and currently living in Africa. There are just certain phrasings that are uncommon in America that I think are more common in Great Britain.
I mentioned I was reading this book to someone and when I tried to describe it, a book about giraffes in Czechoslovakia during the 70s with part of the story told by a Giraffe herself, I realized how out there it seemed. The reality though is much more of a humanistic study than historical. The thoughts and feelings of those involved are really what drives this book forward, It just so happens that there is a surreal plot and setting that they are living in. What is even more crazy is that this is basically true, one of those truth stranger than fiction scenarios. Most of the stories set in the communist countries during the 1960s and 1970s are really hard to believe from someone like me based on when and where I was born. Part of that is based on movies and books making a caricature of those places at that time that the reality seems to be mixed up with stereotypical fictionalizations to the point that it is hard to accept the truth.