by Ahmadou Kourouma
Ahmadou Kourouma's long-awaited novel - hailed by critics as "a major event in the history of French-language African literature" and "a masterpiece of literary creation" - tells the story of Djigui Keita, king of fictional Soba. Relying on ancestral magic, faith in Allah, and baked-mud fortifications, Djigui finds himself powerless in the face of oncoming French colonial troops and falls into the fateful politics of conciliation, compromise, and betrayal that still pervades postcolonial Africa. Tyrannical chief and authentic victim of historical forces, opportunist and pious humanitarian, Djigui Keita, the "AgeOldMan" of his people, is brutally awakened from the tranquillity of traditional certitudes and dragged into a colonial tragedy "made in Europe." Enduring the monnew - the insults, outrages, trials, contempts, and humiliations - of colonialism, Djigui acquires the dimensions of a tragic hero. Ultimately, deep meditation, inspired by the infinite sufferings of his subjects during the more than 125 years of his reign, reveals to Djigui the true nature of people and their acts. A novel as rich in natural resources as the African continent, Monnew shines with the gold of poetic comedy and plunges into the quagmire of the African tragedy. Kourouma writes with the accent of his native Malinke language and culture, conveying and analyzing the intricate mechanisms and linguistic complications of postcolonial Africa. In a tender, virile, rigorously intelligent voice, Kourouma uses his prodigious powers of poetry, humor, and stylistic invention to hasten the end of "the seasons of bitterness," the centuries of African sacrifice.
Paperback: 254 pages