Tiger Mountain in The Last Four Things is based on Mount Kilimanjaro. For two months a year while I was at my Catholic boarding school I escaped on holiday to my parent’s home near the mountain which rules the African plains for hundreds of miles around. My father was a soldier seconded to the Kenyan Army to train the first parachute regiment in Africa, mostly to fight the army of bandits known as the Shifta in a guerilla conflict that still dominates Kenya’s Northern Frontier District. For an alternative view see the Wikipedia entry on the Shifta as freedom-fighters. Whatever the truth of the matter it was clearly a fight carried on with considerable brutality on both sides, a brutality which informed the description of the war against The Folk in The Last Four Things.
The picture can give some idea of why I dubbed it, ‘The Great Testicle’ but in real life the wrinkled surface of the mountain is even more apparent.