Broken Glass by Alain Mabanckou

Alain is originally from the Congo but now teaches in ucla in america ,he won the Prix Renaudot for his book Memoirs of a porcupine ,he also has another book Published by serpents tail that publish this edition .he studied law in Brazzaville before moving to france and is also a poet ,he also writes poetry .Broken Glass follows broken glass a man who is broken and spends all his time in a backstreet bar in congo ,at one time a teacher that fell on bad times after a scandal at the school he taught .the boss of the bar credit gone west suggest that broken glass should talk to the regulars about their lives and make a book of it as he has heard many western writers like to drink and write .so Broken glass starts talking to the regular and find himself drawn in to the equally woeful lives .We discover bad wives ,bad husbands along the way .there are some wonderful names pampers man ,broken glass .

Let’s say the boss of the bar Credit gone west gave me this notebook to fill , he’s convinced that I Broken Glass – can turn out a book .because one day ,for a laugh ,I told him abut this famous writer that drunk like a fish ,and had to be picked up off the street when he got drunk ,which shows you should never joke with the boss .

the opening of broken glass .

This book runs at such a pass ,you can feel the speech of  this part of the world joyful and non stop ,the sentences are long but don’t seem it as you get swept along through drinks and chats to see the different lives of the regulars .I worked for a time in a pub in my distant youth and can easily identify with the people of Credit gone west ,men escaping with ,men seeking solace in drink after being  disappointed in their life,  as in the pub they are all equal ,this is such a refreshing book to read Alain Manabckou deserves his tag of being one of the writers in the 21 century to watch . he is due in london soon to be part of the lrb weeekend .

Winston’s score –

baboon colourful ,like to get drunk of fruit ,social and very african

winstons books

  First up are two for review from new publisher Peirene ,they are stones in a landslide by Maria Barbel a modern classic from catalan it follows a life of a Conxa  through her life and touches the spanish civil war and lost loves .The second is beside the sea a french novel by Veronique Olmi that follows a mother visit to the seaside with her two kids and what happens there .Now both these have got good reviews so far on different blogs going to have to work on something special for these ,many thanks to Meike and peirene for sending me these great to support a new publisher of translated books ,also believe Meike looking for other books that are short to be translated .

next are three great finds at my local Oxfam ,they are –

The engineer of human souls by Josef Skvorecky ,this is a thick book from the acclaimed czech writer it follows Danny an exile from a police state and follows some of Josef own story ,now this is going to one side for my 2011 challenge .

The sorrows of war by Bao NInh ,this novel tells the story of a north Vietnamese solider during the Vietnam war ,be interesting to see the other side of the coin in regards to the Vietnam war ,this also won the Independent foreign fiction prize .

One day of life Manlio Argueta ,now this is really exciting to me ,Argueta is a el Salvadoran writer this book was in the top ten latin american novels of 20th century by modern library ,it follows a day in the life of a pheasant farmer in El Salvador .

Has any one read any of these ?

June 2010


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