Taxi by Khaled Al Khamissi

taxi

Taxi by Khaled Al Khamissi

Egyptian fiction

Original title -Hawadith al-mashawir

Translator – Jonathan Wright

Source personnel E book copy

Khaled Al Khamissi is an Egyptian born ,writer he has written two novels so far .He studied Political science and university .This book thou published in 2006 /7 .A ;lot of what is spoken in the book seems very much still to be the case in Egypt .

‘People wonder why the economy’s screwed up,’ the driver said. ‘It’s screwed up because of people. Would you believe it, a country like Egypt, the people here spend more than 20 billion pounds a year on telephone calls. Twenty billion pounds, I mean, if we didn’t talk for two or three years, would Egypt be different?

Khamissi, Khaled Al (2012-03-15). Taxi (English edition)

 

Taxi is made up of 58 stories or is it voices ,from all round Cairo the voice of the taxi drivers of Cairo ,their  stories paint the city from top to bottom from the upper echelons to the lowest street people ,what we get is a clutter city  but city wanting to move forward ,of hard-working souls and corruption and uneven lifestyles come across .The from seatbelts to cinema ,Iraq ,Palestine and Israeli all crop up in the chats note in the stories .But at the back of it from time to time is the police corruption and the president at the time Mubarak   looming in the background as we see these windows of Cairo tell the tales to a unnnamed man in the taxis .

‘The whole story was business on business. The big guys imported seatbelts and sold them and made millions . The Interior Ministry issued one ticket after the other and collected millions. The wretched cops on the street would stop you and say: “Where’s your seatbelt, you bastard?” and you’d have to slip him a fiver, and if he stopped you when an officer was there , it would be twenty pounds. I mean, everyone benefited.

how they ended up with seatbelts in the city according to one driver ?

Well this book still seems fresh not seven years on yes the modern Egypt has moved quickly ,but one feels from the bits we see on the UK news that the basic problems that underlie these stories and people in the stories are the same .The city comes across as a place of divide but also great characters . I was reminded of the book written about a tube train and its passengers that had great snippets of of there lives .Also the book has a non fiction feel at times ,you never quite sure what has been heard and what was made up ,I feel maybe from what I’ve read about the book one thing we maybe have missed in Jonathan Wrights great translation is dialect that part of the book that if you live in Cairo maybe opens the book even more like a Londoner would gather more from an east end dialect and a city boys speaking but that aside I felt it was a great view into Cairo just before it blew up and maybe in here are a few clues too why it happened .

What is your favourite book on Egypt ?

Beneath the Darkening sky by Majok Tulba

beneath the darkening sky

Beneath the darkening sky by Majok

Australian / Sudanese fiction

Source Review Copy

Beneath the darkening sky was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book prize .Majok Tulba grew up in Southern Sudan as he says on his website his village was by the waters of the White Nile .When he was nine soldiers from the Sudanese Armed Forces came to his village looking for recruits ,Majok was as it happens an Inch shorter than an AK-47 stood up which was the mark they used to measure up child solders ,he finally fled Sudan aged 16 got a Visa and settled in Australia .He is married with children now and writes and runs a charity and likes to highlight the plight of people in his homeland .I would say have a look at his personnel website which is rather good for a writers site

I think about my last sight of home .Mama and the younger ones clinging to her skirts .Her teeth were chattering .She wasn’t whimpering or crying,she was just trembling with her mouth half-opened and her eyes staring into emptiness of space ,and then she turned and stared into my eyes

Obinna last sight of his home and Mama

 

Now what would happened if the Nine year old Majok was actually a couple of inches taller when the solders came to his town .Well that is the basis of Beneath the darkening sky ,Obinna is a happy nine-year old when the book opens dreaming of entering primary 6 at school .When his village is over run by soldiers ,They cause damage in the village ,also kill a number of people , then start looking for who to take and its Obinna and his older brother Akot ,This leads the two boys into a dark world were one goes one way and another another Obinna ends up being called Baboons arse  .The story follows the brothers as they struggle to cope with the violent life of the solders ,rank and respect is gained by how many people they killed ,how many women they’ve raped this is a brutal world .How will it turn out ?

From the first ,we had to learn revolution songs , but our morning runs included a different kind of song – not about the revolution and the glorious new world .

A farmer’s daughter tried to run from me 

So I shot her once ,right in the knee

I dragged her into the long grass 

And then I F****d her pretty ass

The violent nature of the solders and their world even makes it into their songs .

Well short and sweet description ,I want you to read this one .As many of you that read the blog will know I usually wait a few weeks before reviewing a book to let it settle  in my mind ,but this book is one , that just needed me to jump ,up and shout about it to you all .But be aware this is a book about a violent world and thankfully Majok has chosen not to sugar coat the pill here ,no a couple of times I almost throw the book away out of sheer horror at what I was reading ,  but then Majok  is a wonderful compelling storytelling writing didn’t make me .I hate the term Page turner because it is such a cliché ,but I  did finish  this book in two sittings . This book does more than news pictures can do ,it brings you down on the ground as we see this horrific world through the eyes of a sacred nine-year old .Majok Tulba is a writer to watch .A heartbreaking insight into the dark side of the Sudan conflict .

King Lazarus by Mongo Beti

King Lazarus

King Lazarus by Mongo Beti

Cameroon fiction

Translator – Peter Green

Source personnel copy

As I said yesterday I was shocked when in Alain Mabanckou in his book ,Black Bazaar, they were discussing early French language fiction from Africa and Mongo Beti was mentioned ,it served to remind me I hadn’t reviewed this book that I had read last year .So too  Mongo Beti ,was out spoken as a kid about religion and colonialism in africa .He was expelled from his missionary school but did manage to get to university in France where he studied literature , first at Aix-en-Provence he then went to the prestigious Sorbonne in Paris ,before returning to Cameroon ,where he wrote journalism ,including a scathing piece on the writer Camara Laye for what he saw as a book pandering to western tastes ,not African tastes.He then choose to write novels himself ,writing a number of books a number of which appeared in the ealry collection of the African writer series  .He did end up spending a lot of his life in exile .

The same day the reverend father mustered all his determination and will-power and sought audience with the chief .What took place no-one discovered .Directly Le Guen left ,the chief summoned his brother ,telling him to send away all the palace wives .

“Except the one and only wife to whom I shall be married in the eyes of god “

“And which one might that be ? ” Mekenda enquired cautiously .

The Chief makes his choices .

After reading up on Mongo Beti his motivation for writing this book became clear ,this book is a vision of how he saw Cameroon ,missionaries and tribal life in his homeland .The book centres on The chief of the Essazam ,who has decide to embrace the catholic faith .Now this is where the problems start for him ,because he has a number of wives 23 in all .The church has been pushing him to choose just one of the women so he choose the youngest of his wives to be his only bride in the eyes of god .Now this isn’t the simplest thing for him to do because the other 22 wives don’t want to lose the position or lose face within the tribe ,thus setting up a trick situation .On top of this the chief is being pushed into this by Le Guen the priest ,as Le Guen in turn is facing pressure from his bishop to make the chief convert as they see him converting as a powerful figure for the church in the country .

At the time of the events this story describe ,the girl was barely fifteen .An impetuous ,passionate  creature, la bell ,Medzo ,her opulent Bosom the more striking for the bird-fine  adolescent body .Already the most attractive women in the place .

WHat happens to Medzo ?

Well as you see this is very much tribal world and way of life clashing with the incoming Christian religion  .The title is a spin on the old tale because instead of everything turning to gold as the priest and his bishop hopes ,it in fact has the opposite effect for the Chief .Given that Beti was critical of Laye ,you can see that this book which he wrote after that is very much a book that appeals to Africans in the post colonial world at the time it was written 1958 France and both the UK were starting to withdraw from Africa ,in fact Cameroon became independent just two years after this book was published .Satire is the way Beti choose to show the world of the chief and the priest ,to show the madness of the two worlds clashing the Christian world and it values and the Tribal world .The Pressure on Le Guen to make him decide to become a Catholic ,without seeing the bigger picture .Beti has written here a sharply observed  book capturing a shifting world in time that world of older values and western messing with these values .This book seems out of print which is a shame but old African writer copies seem easily available online .This book shows yet again how in the early years of this series the Late Chinua Achebe ,who sadly passed away last week ,made some great choices for this series by picking strong voices out of Africa.

Have you read any books from Cameroon ?

Black Bazaar by Alain Mabanckou

Black-Bazaar_large

Black Bazaar by Alain Mabanckou

Congolese fiction

Translator -Sarah Ardizzone

Source – Library

So after a few days away from the blog I return with another of this years Independent foreign fiction prize Long-listed books and this time it is From the Congolese writer Alain Mabanckou .This is the third book from him I have reviewed on Winstonsdad ,I have previously covered Broken Glass and Memories of a porcupine .Now the big change in this book than the two previous books which have both been set in Congo is that this book is set in the Paris ,but more the Paris of the African immigrant a very different one than the one we know and also the story of one Man and the people he knows .

Because he keeps going on about the Hippocratic oath ,we’ve ended up nicknaming him Mr Hippocratic .Seeing as he can’t insult the whole earth, he takes it out on me instead .Mr Hippocratic likes to cultivate his garden at my expense .He says ,for example ,that most blacks he knows ,I always put the cart before the horse ,I’m not worth Peanuts ,I’m a cabbage head ,with an artichoke for a heart

The racist neighbour of the Buttologist .

The main character in this book is a Congolese man from the capital of Congo ,the same as Alain Mabanckou ,but our man character is a colourful chap who has earned the name Buttologist ,he is one of these chaps that has a swagger about him a modern-day Dandy .He is one of a group of guys that have a certain air around them .This is almost a keen to the English gang novels of Richard Allen who charts the life of Joe a skinhead that then becomes a young man in his other books .This is the story of a man coping with the world around him .The title is a reference to a diary that the Buttologist keeps .He is a man in mourning not for someone who has died, but for his women the women called Original Colour by Buttologist and his friends she earned the name because of the deep colour of her skin ,well she has taken of with his son, who with a midget ,she has gone back to the Congo and left the Buttologist .We see how Buttologist copes with this loss but also through what his friends say a large picture of being African in Paris .But also how being African has been shaped in them the books the read ,the music they like ,how they perceive life .

I buy books from the rideau Rouge .And what do I remember from what I’ve read ?

A dazzling truth: it’s thanks to colonisation that Cameroonian Ferdinand Onyono wrote The old man and the medal and Houseboy ; it’s thanks to Colonisation another Cameroonian ,Mongo Beti wrote cruel Town and The poor christ of Bomba .

I read this and Smiled I have read Mongo Beti’s king Lazurus last year but never got to review it yet so will be tomorrow .

I love Mabanckou ,this is my third read from him ,every time I go wow .He is a writer that seems the same yet different in every book ,if that makes sense he has grown as a writer of the books but also has kept what I loived the first time I read him in the heart of the book and that is the interaction of everyday people .Buttologist is a guy you often see around ,not always from Congo the sharper dressed African is some one I ve meet via work and like Buttologist what on the outside the maybe brash dandy looking chap isn’t what they are all about .The other thing I love in Mabanckou writing is a dry and dark wit subtle and shows the clashing of African culture and French culture but also ,the clashing of different african nations as one passage about living in a house with a few Nigerian women and how they argue made me laugh .I see why this was picked for the IFFP longlist ,Sarah Ardizzone has done a great job on keep what appears from talking to Tony who has read it in the original French a vibrant book alive .

Have you read Alain ,which is your favourite by him ?

Great ????? novel

 

I decide to write a post after listening to a Guardian podcast from earlier this year ,I fallen behind with my podcast listening lately .But the podcast focused on the recent novel by Chad Harbach – the art of fielding ,this book is considered an heir to the great american novel .But maybe because it is influenced by Melville’s Moby Dick  “according to its writer .I ve not read the book but have Moby Dick ” . The fact that the so-called Great american novel may have  gone full circle and the ideas that influenced  Meville  have influenced Harbach. Maybe suggest that the great american novel is dying as the form we know spliting into other forms like Jewish american novels  ,the fact that two  books that are massive books in size ,received little or no attention ,but are on my radar and wish list the books Witz  by Joshua Cohen and The instructions by Adam Levin both complex books that maybe show american lit is moving away from the pursuit of classic Great american novel .So with the fact I feel the great european novels have maybe been written in the past Proust ,Zola ,Dickens ,Doblin ,Musil well the list is huge really but European fiction has moved away from what maybe consider the great novel for a particular country .

So what do I define as a great novel something that is part state of the nation ,part social commentary,part insight and maybe something that catches the zeitgeist .More an over view of a nation for me  Moby dick classic example a book about men ,class ,obsession and maybe america become its own nation .

 

Great Chinese Novel -

I m sure somewhere last year I heard some one in an interview ,they said the 21st century was going to be the century of the Chinese novel .So lets start with the Great chinese novel ,any one that reads this blog ,I m sure there are a few people know I struggle with Chinese fiction ,I feel what may be classed a the great Chinese novel hasn’t been written China is so fast-moving in the last few years you feel a book that could capture the feel of one of these Mega cities .The books I have read tend to deal with social issues and the moves from country to town ,rather than a look as Chinese culture as a whole in these mega-cities and how it effect people everyday .They are great books but not what may be classed as great Chinese novel .

Great Indian novel

Now I can think of three books that may already be called great Indian novel the are midnights children ,white tiger and  a suitable girl these books are all wonderful and tackle the subjects I feel make great novels .But all have maybe still been influenced by English writing .Rather like China the urban sprawl of Indian and the complex nature of Indian society is owed a truly great novel to open it up like a post mortem on modern India   .I would love to dive into a book that let me in as a westerner  see inside these huge cities from top to bottom and also gave us an idea of the class and politics of India.

Great latin american novel -

Hum some of you will be saying yes there is great fiction from Latin America .This is truE but I feel Bolano ,Mayo and  Neuman have shown the change  in fiction from latin america ,long weighted down with the feeling of having to write  Magic realism so much so that one writer felt so much this held back his fiction he killed himself  Andres Caicedo his only novel to be published next year was maybe the first Great latin American novel not classed as either Magic realism or Dictator fiction   .I finish Neuman’s  traveller to the century a wonderful book but maybe only his first step to a great Latin american novel as it was set in europe .Argentina fiction is moving  looking inward and hopefully moving slowly from their dark past to the present great writers like Figueras and Gamerro ,have both written so well on Argentina past you feel in later books they must discuss the present .I do wonder if we’ll see these books as we seem to like the books discussing the past and maybe miss books that discuss the present .

Great african Novel

Duck my head here ,I clarify I mean the great novel of Nigeria ,Ghana ,South Africa .I pick these three as the y are all countries moving forward and the great novel maybe is of a country feeling great about its self and having pride .I feel these countries are beginning to enter this and starting to show a way forward for africa as a whole moving from western ideas to African ideas .So maybe we need a great novel of africa a book that lets us see Africa through African eyes?I ve read a number of African books ,lots about villages and a few about towns but yet to see one that fills me with that feeling I ‘ve lived and learnt in these pages .

So what do you think am I just rambling or maybe is there some truth in my thoughts ?  

Where do you think the next lot of great novels will come from ?

Ordained by the oracle by Asare Konadu

Ordained by the oracle by Asare Konadu

Ghanaian Fiction

When Kinna announced Ghanaian lit week I had just read this novel so I put it to one side and decided to review it for Ghanaian lit week .Samuel Asare Konadu was born in 1932 ,he worked as a reporter and for the Ghana information services ,in the mid sixties he studied traditional customs ,he also started a publishing venture Anowuo book ,how publish some books in the sixties to success .

SO what is Ordained by the oracle about well we follow Boateng ,he is a successful trader in a the Elmina (a coastal town in the south of Ghana ) ,he is a modern man dealing in the modern world in his day-to-day life ,his wife is in hospital dying it turns out ,now she grew up in a small village and via her grandmother ,has mor belief in the old tribal ways of life .So when Dora the wife dies ,Boateng decides to follow his wifes wishes and to sp[end forty days and nights wife his wife’s body .So with his wife he returns to the village his wife is from and then  spends the forty days and nights with the body.As he does this he reflects on his life and his wife’s life also the people they know .he is helped by people in the village as he spend the forty days and nights .AS he starts to putting things in order in his mind having the time to just think and dwell

Boateng found his sleep after two nights of keeping awake .He thought in the first few hours of the life that faced him without his wife ,but the company he had in the presence of the guide took away the fear that gripped him .When he was locked up with his dead wife .The room they now occupied was a few yards from where Dora  lay in state .

Just after the forty days .

Rather like tail of the blue bird by Nii Ayikwei Parkes ,this book deals with the clashing of to worlds the old village tribal world of Dora and her grandparents that she spent time with when she was younger ,and that of Boateng his modern world and him wanting to turn his back  on traditional ways .These meet when the modern world in the form of the modern Hospital his dying wife is in can’t keep her alive ,so this sends Boateng down a path of rediscovering the past and the values he was in trouble of losing .Konadu writing is poetic and he keep the pages turning with shortish economical written  chapters ,your never left with endless pages of unnecessary writing .The feeling is this is Konadu own world he is describing ,he himself was born in southern Ghana .I think this is a real lost gem of african writing it was part of the early African writer series no 55 an earlier work by him is no40 also in the first series of the African writer series  .It was first published in 1969 .

Have you read this book ?

What is your favourite Ghana book ?

The tongue’s blood does not run dry by Assia Djebar

The tongue’s blood does not run dry by Assia Djebar

Algerian Fiction

Translator – Tegan Raleigh

Assia Djebar name has flown high in the nobel odds the last couple of years so I decided to try her ,before she does win it .Assia Djebar is her pen name her real name being Fatima-Zohar Imalayen ,she is a Algerian of Berber origins , she was the first Algerian women to go the prestigious ENS  the elite Parisian college .Her first book was published in 1957 ,she was also the first Maghreb to be voted on to the  Académie française and won the Neustadt prize .I must say given all that she is still not well-known in the english speaking world and really should be .

This collection the first of two books I got by her from the library is a collection of short stories and a 80 page novella Felicie’s body ,I ll leave the stories mainly set in Algeria and all dealing with a female perspective on what it is to be a women in modern Algeria ,Felicie’s body deals with a women near the end of her life and indeed after her death she is french catholic and was married for her life to her Algerian husband who died before her now nearing the end of her life we see her having to take a muslim name to be buried beside her beloved husband this story really catches what it is to be between two worlds as this family is some of her children drawn to Algeria other to France we see how this family copes with her death of the mother and her wishes to be buried beside her husband in Algeria .

You arrive on a Monday morning in February ,unconscious already.In the ambulance ,I sit down next to my sister Ourdia ,who’s come with you from Oran .I tell myself this time you’ve come to die by my side ,right under my eyes .But will you at least look at me ,just once ? Smile at me ,maybe talk ?

The opening of Felicie’s body .

I was trying to  think of a way to sum up her writing and how it impacted me but I think  she  has  best summed up by a quote of her own -

I write like many other Algerian women with a sense of urgency against regression and misogyny .

That sums up so well how this book grabbed me and her as a writer feisty and lots of strong female characters .I asked my self is this a potential nobel winner having read other Nobel winners work and the answers is yes and I hope she does so her work can reach a wider audiences of readers .Her’s is a voice that lifts the lid on the female Muslim world of north africa and also how these women or there families are effected in France .The translation works a treat her the translator is new to me but has done a great job here .The book was published in the US  by seven stories press in 2006 and the original stories were published in French in 1997 .

Have you read her works ?

Have you a favourite North African writer ?

Waiting for the wild beasts to vote by Ahmadou Kourouma

Source – personnel copy

Translator – Frank Wynne

 

Earlier this year when I interview Frank Wynne the translator of this book to name his favourite translation he choose this book .By the late Ahmadou Kourouma ,he grew up in Ivory coast ,from a well-known family he spent time in the french military and studied in Lyon in france (mathematics).But after his homeland of Ivory coast gained independence from france in 1960 ,he questioned the leadership of Felix houphouet-Boigny  and was sent to prison and after that spent thirty years in exile returning in 1994 just after the death of Felix H-B .Ahmadou Kourouma died in 2003 .

So what is waiting for the wild beasts to vote about well ,it is a story of an African leader told by a Bingo a sora (a storytelling singer) told over five nights .The leader Koyoga was an orphan that became a leader of the gulf coast ( a made up african country but easily a number of countries round ivory coast )and along the way gain a huge mythology about his life and what had happen to him .we see the french involvement at the start with what are called the naked people ,then Koyoga father was the first of this tribe to wear clothes .Then we see Koyoga a solider take power in his homeland and start of with ideals and standards a friend of the west france in particular .But then his promises start to fall apart and people start to doubt him so he turns to violence and corruption to keep power .

When you recovered the Qur’an and the aerolite,you will ready yourself for democratic presidential elections . Elections based on universal suffrage supervised by an independent National commission .You will seek a new mandate secure in the knowledge that you will triumph ,that you will be re-elected .For you know ,you are certain ,that if by chance men refuse to vote for you ,the beast will come from the jungle ,will lay their hands on ballot paper and will elect you by a landslide .

The closing page and the title of the book is made clear .

Well this book is a must read for anyone ,part magic realism part african folk tale ,also a chunk of history of post colonial africa .Is Koyoga far-fetched ,well no if you’ve watch the film  the  last king of Scotland or any programme about the regimes and the leaders in Romania ,North Korea and many others to know that fact and fiction and what these people did in their lives are very blurred . Kourouma is a wonderful storyteller Bingo brings the leaders life to life through his tales .This book is also closely related to the Latin american dictator novels by Roa Bastos or Angel Asturias in the fact like them it examine the character of the people in this case post french africa ,there is some say that it was Togo president Eyedema was the main blueprint for the leader as he like Koyaga had a mythical status having being the sole survivor of a plane crash .But in my opinion it is far wider than that and yes it is based in africa but erase the names and some of the place it could be south america ,south-east asia or even post soviet states .So if you want an insight into africa ,the mind of a dictator ,how much the western world has influence in the third world .I know this is due out shortly as an E-BOOK as Frank told me when I meet him at IFFP prize .This is probably in the top ten novels about Afica for me if not top of that list .It sold over a 100,00 books in france when published .

Do you have a favorite African novel ?

Do you have a favourite dictator novel ?

The book of chameleons by Jose Eduardo Agulusa

This was a reread for me I read this just after it came out in 2007 and wondered if on second reading would be as good as the first and I m pleased to say yes this book is firmly in my favourite african books of all time .Jose Eduardo Agualusa is a Angolan  writer he lived in Brazil briefly but now divides his time between Lisbon and  Luanda he has written 7 novels so far this was the 2007 Independent foreign fiction winner .

The book is a series of interlocking stories  or vignettes that are set in modern-day Angola and involve Felix Ventura an albino weaver of new histories for people ,these stories are narrated by a gecko that is a reincarnation of a dead man ,Well as you see this is firmly in magic realism or african mysticism ,Felix is a type fixer helps people rewrite their lives change there histories ,he is also albino which from what little I know in some parts of africa is a bad omen or a good omen but in felix’s case it seems to give him an air of detachment from the people he deals with .The strength of the book lies in the way it deals with Angola’s  past at times violent and how these people look to the future .Felix is so good that one person decides to search into his new past with shocking results .

Once ,when I was in my old human form ,I decided to kill myself .I wanted to die ,completely .I hoped for eternal life ,heaven and hell ,god ,the devil .reincarnation ,all that stuff ,was no more than slowly woven superstition ,devolped over centuries and centuries ont mans greatest terror .There was a gun shop right by my house .

The gecko remember his past life .

Dreams also interweave the books ,Like dreams the new histories rewrites people are never the same and always different .This book is funny in parts and very poignant in others ,such a bright book from such a dark stories and the sadness of Angola’s  past is a real work of art .Like my fellow blogger Kinna rereading this is a timely reminder of the need to read more Lusophilla literature .The book was translated by Daniel Hahn who shared the Independent prize as the translator . for ,me this is a bridge between the african village fiction I love and the latin american magic realism I love ,in parts I remembered Borges or Marquez in others Okri came to mind .

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK ?

HAVE YOU A FAVOURITE LUSOPHILE NOVEL ?


So long a letter by Mariama Ba

source – library

Mariama Ba is a Sengalese writer and activist for femmist roghts in here native country ,she struggle to get herself a good education as the feeling was at the time that girls could not get taught ,she later married a Member of parilment and got divorced from him end up bring there nine children up by herself .So long a letter was her debut novel and was described by the nigerian academic Abiola Irele the most deeply felt presentation of the female condition in african fiction .

So long a letter as the titles suggest is told in the forms of letters ,the letters are between two old friends Ramatoulaye a schoolteacher that had recently lost her husband and her best friend Aissatou .we discover via the letter there married life how they met and how they spent a long and happy marriage together til her lat husband decided to take a second wife  Binetou ,this upsets Ramatoulaye she struggles to cope with this in the male dominated society of Senegal .

On the third day ,the same comings and goings of friends ,relatives ,the poor ,the unknown ,The name of the deceased ,who was popular ,has a buzzing crowd ,welcomed in my house that has been stripped of all that could be stolen ,all that could be spoilt .mats of all sorts are spread out everywhere there is a space metal chairs have been hired for the occasion take on the blue hue of the sun .

Ramatoulaye describes the scene of her late husband Moudo funeral .

The insight in to everyday African life for a normal everyday African women is wonderful and terrifying at the same time ,the toughness of the islamic system they follow having to share a husband are things that we never really encounter here ,Ramatoulaye comes across as such a strong person ,some of Mariama own spirit seems to have rubbed off on this character .This is great starter for female African fiction and rightly deserves it place on the African writer series classic .It gave me an insight into the islamic world and multiple marriages in Africa .at 90 pages long it is an afternoon read or as I did a pocket read for those spare minutes of the day when you need a small book in your coat pocket to read .I enjoyed the style the book was written in the letter format is a clever way to let you into the head of the two main characters and is a under used format in fiction .The book was written in french and translated by Modupo Bodo-Thomas ,and was first published in english in 1981 and won the Noma awards .

Have you read this book ?

What should I read next from a African female writer ?

Previous Older Entries

September 2014
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,573 other followers

%d bloggers like this: