Romanticised scenes from Seid's boyhood as well as stories from the golden age of empires and other timeless tales in this collection evoke positive images of Chad and Africa more generally. African readers, young and old, regardless of locality, will hear echoes of the folktales, fables and legends narrated by their grandmothers of an evening by the fire under the stars.
Though Mazamba knows he only has a few days left to extract most out of the world, and though he is married, Mazamba "embarks on an affair with a French woman, Aubéri, and comes to look at the world around him with new eyes." He is met with a society of racism, a nation of corruption and a globe of preconceived notions. But he still undertakes the quest to "challenge the status quo while he still can." Toihiri is a courageous and fearless writer. He looks and writes about the world with a different eye; an eye more clear and vivid an eye more brave. From the descriptions of 'a neighborhood whe... continue
Anguille is a 17-year-old girl who leaves her rock on the archipelago of Comoros to lose herself at sea. She drifts between two states of mind and between two islands 'in a hollow maze', evoking her memories so as to forget nothing and so as to delay the inevitable outcome. Confronted with the pressing immediacy of imminent death, Anguille recounts the story of her whole life in one long, sustained breath, in a series of brief couplets. But what Anguille recounts, in an assured voice which heralds a shipwreck, is also something other than her life - something much deeper below the ground, or r... continue
Life During Wartime, As Seen Through the Eyes of Two Congolese Teenagers Set amid the chaos of West Africa's civil wars, Emmanuel Dongala's striking novel tells the story of two teenagers growing up while rival ethnic groups fight for control of their country. At age sixteen, Johnny is a member of the Death Dealers, a rebel faction bent on seizing power. Even as he is drawn into the rebels' program of terror, Johnny Mad Dog, as he calls himself, retains his youthful exuberance--searching for girls, good times, and adventure. Sixteen-year-old Laokolé, for her part, dreams of finishing high scho... continue
Sardonic, subtle, and sweetly scathing, Little Boys Come from the Stars is satire at its best. Set in an unnamed country in equatorial Africa, it tells the story of Michel, a precocious teen dubbed Matapari (“trouble”) because of his extraordinary birth. Though his father is a reclusive scholar, his mother a pious though confused Catholic, and his uncle a shameless opportunist determined to gain power in the shifting politics of their post-colonial nation, Matapari remains an unsullied child who wears Reeboks, drinks Coke, reads Japanese comics, and watches Rambo. But when his family becomes t... continue
Written on the twentieth anniversary of James Baldwin’s death, Letter to Jimmy is African writer Alain Mabanckou’s ode to his literary hero and an effort to place Baldwin’s life in context within the greater African diaspora. Beginning with a chance encounter with a beggar wandering along a Santa Monica beach—a man whose ragged clothes and unsteady gait remind the author of a character out of one of James Baldwin’s novels— Mabanckou uses his own experiences as an African living in the US as a launching pad to take readers on a fascinating tour of James Baldwin’s life. As Mabanckou reads Baldwi... continue
'"C'est l'arrivee," someone said. These were the first words the boy heard when the lorry on which he and the others had been travelling at last turned into the parking lodge at Bulungu, their final destination after a two-day journey from Kinshasa. The boy was impatient to find out more about this place, which might soon become his permanent home. With his little brain he had imagined that people everywhere lived like the people at his birthplace.' The idea of clashes or differences between cultures didn't make sense to the young boy who is sent by his international parents to a country villa... continue