Segu

Segu

4.3 4
by Maryse CondT
     
 

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A powerful novel of Africa's history and the men and women who determined its fate. From the East came Islam. From the West, the slave trade. The battle for Africa's soul had begun...
"A wondrous novel about a period of African history few other writers have addressed... Much of the novel's radiance comes from the lush descriptions of a traditional life

Overview

A powerful novel of Africa's history and the men and women who determined its fate. From the East came Islam. From the West, the slave trade. The battle for Africa's soul had begun...
"A wondrous novel about a period of African history few other writers have addressed... Much of the novel's radiance comes from the lush descriptions of a traditional life that is both exotic and violent."
-THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
"Segu is an overwhelming accomplishment. It injects into the density of history characters who are as alive as you and I. Passionate, lusty, greedy, they are in conflict with themselves as well as with God and Mammon. Maryse Conde has done us all a tremendous service by rendering history so compelling and exciting. Segu is a literary masterpiece I could not put down."
-LOUISE MERIWETHER

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This family saga is set in the warlike kingdom of Segu (roughly present-day Mali) in the late 19th century. Conde is a born storyteller, commented PW, but the novel's ``cumulative effect is marred . . . by such a bewildering array of characters and such a density of cultural detail that the storyline becomes both sluggish and hard to follow.'' (May)
Library Journal
late 18th-century Africa, and change, in the form of slave traders from the west and Islam from the east, is coming to the tribal societies. In Segu, a kingdom near present-day Mali, the family of nobleman Dousika Traore is torn apart by the actions of his four sons: One fights for the old pagan ways, one becomes a Moslem, one is taken to Brazil on a slaver, and one is a mercenary. The customs and beliefs of Segu's Bambara tribe are skillfully woven into the story, and the descriptions of slavery and the slave trade are both compelling and horrifying. As in many sagas with as broad a canvas, the characters are somewhat flat, but fascination with the background will carry the reader. For large fiction collections. Janet Boyarin Blundell, M.L.S. , Brookdale Coll., Lincroft, N.J.
From the Publisher
"The most significant novel about black Africa published in many a year."
— The New York Times book Review

"Condé is a born storyteller."
Publishers Weekly

“Exotic, richly textured and detailed, this narrative, alternating between the lives of various characters, illuminates magnificently a little known historical period. Virtually every page glitters with nuggets of cultural fascination.”
—Howard Kaplan, Los Angeles Times

“A wondrous novel about a period of African history few other writers have addressed. … Much of the novel’s radiance comes from the lush description of a traditional life that is both exotic and violent.”
—Charles L. Larson, The New York Times Book Review

“With the dazzling storytelling skills of an African griot, Maryse Condé has written a rich, fast-paced saga of a great kingdom during the tumultuous period of the slave trade and the coming of Islam. Segu is history as vivid and immediate as today. It has restored a part of my past that has long been missing.”
—Paule Marshall, author of Daughters

“Segu is an overwhelming accomplishment. It injects into the density of history characters who are as alive as you and I. Passionate, lusty, greedy, they are in conflict with themselves as well as with God and Mammon. Maryse Condé has done us all a tremendous service by rendering a history so compelling and exciting. Segu is a literary masterpiece I could not put down.”
—Louise Meriwether

“A stunning reaffirmation of Africa and its peoples as set down by others whose works have gone unnoticed. Ms. Condé not only backs them up, but provides new insights as well. … Segu has its own dynamic. It’s a starburst.”—John A. Williams

“A novel of wide scope, depth and power. Condé proves herself a careful observer of human behavior as she helps the reader to under stand and feel the turmoil of a confused continent. She captures a fascinating time in history with its earth spirituality, religious fervor and the violent nature of a people and their growing nation. . .Brims over with intelligence and wit.”
Anniston Star (Alabama)

Segu, a tale of love and intrigue, is fascinating, for the reader experiences the fervor of those tumultuous times.”
Chattanooga News-Free Press

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345353061
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/01/1988
Edition description:
REISSUE
Pages:
508
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are saying about this

Maya Angelou
Condé's story is rich and colorful and glorious. It falls over continents and centuries to find its way into the reader's heart.

Meet the Author

A native of Guadeloupe, Maryse Condé lived for many years in Paris, where she taught West Indian literature at the Sorbonne. The author of several novels that have been well received in France (both Segu and its sequel were best-sellers), she has lectured widely in the United States and now divides her time between Guadeloupe and New York city, where she teaches at Columbia University.

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Segu 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Maryse Conde has always excelled by using real life experiences and making them seem as if it's 100% fiction. There is no denying that while living in different nations on the continent Africa she was busy doing research on her own ancestry. Conde comes from an era when people of African descent search desperately to find their ancestors. What Maryse does with this novel is weave fiction and nonfictional elements into Segu. As a student interested in French Literature and African American Studies, with a father thats from Guadeloupe I am deeply in love with Conde's rich cannon of literary work and urge everyone to read this novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This has to be one of the best books I have ever read. The style that the book is written in does wonders in holding the reader glued to the pages. I particularly enjoyed Conde's way of putting fictional caracters and actual history together. In short, I recommend this book to all those who are looking for a window into another world.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Segu has a fantastic story line and is full of great points, views, and ideas about everything from family to the Trans Atlantic slave trade. However Maryse Conde writes the story in such a drab and unimaginative light, you are dozing off just before you get to the good parts. There were times when I began reading and lost total interest in the story altogether and starting thinking of other things to be reading. The wording of the story itself makes you want to sleep sometimes. Thinking of the same thing over again, at some points it seems almost repetative as you see the terms 'shea butter' and 'gris-gris' almost a million times as well as 'prostrate' and 'penetrate'. A thesaurus could have been very helpful to Conde while writing this piece. I would have honestly given the story one star had it not displayed such a great betrayal of family and struggles with life. I would recommend this story to those who are actually willing to fully submit to a book of this nature solely for the purpose of education (note: keep a pen and pad ready when you read this, your seriously going to need it)but, if you are looking for a leisure time novel that is fun, exciting, and interesting don't even waste your money. Instead check out the Encyclopedia, it is more exciting and insightful then this!