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The history of Credit Gone West, a squalid Congolese bar, is related by one of its most loyal customers, Broken Glass, who has been commissioned by its owner to set down an account of the characters who frequent it. Broken Glass himself is a disgraced alcoholic school teacher with a love of French language and literature which he has largely failed to communicate to his pupils but which he displays in the pages of his notebook. The notebook is also a farewell to the bar and to his fellow drinkers. After writing ...
The history of Credit Gone West, a squalid Congolese bar, is related by one of its most loyal customers, Broken Glass, who has been commissioned by its owner to set down an account of the characters who frequent it. Broken Glass himself is a disgraced alcoholic school teacher with a love of French language and literature which he has largely failed to communicate to his pupils but which he displays in the pages of his notebook. The notebook is also a farewell to the bar and to his fellow drinkers. After writing the final words, Broken Glass will go down to the River Tchinouka and throw himself into its murky waters, where his lamented mother also drowned.
Broken Glass is a Congolese riff on European classics from the most notable Francophone African writer of his generation.
Prix de la Société des poètes français, 1995 Grand prix littéraire d’Afrique noire, for his first novel, Bleu-Blanc-Rouge, 1999 Prix du roman Ouest-France-Etonnants Voyageurs 2005, for Broken Glass Prix des cinq continents de la francophonie 2005, for Broken Glass Prix RFO du livre 2005, for Broken Glass Prix Renaudot 2006, for Memoirs of a Porcupine Prix de La Rentrée littéraire 2006, for Memoirs of a Porcupine Prix Aliénor d’Aquitaine 2006, for Memoirs of a Porcupine Prix Créateurs Sans Frontières 2007 (Ministère français des Affaires Etrangères), for Memoirs of a Porcupine Médaille de citoyen d’honneur de la ville de Saint-Jean-d’Angély (Charente-Maritime, France), 2004
Praise for the work of Alain Mabanckou
“Whatever else might be in short supply in the Congo depicted by Alain Mabanckou, imagination and wit aren’t . . . a comic romp . . . Broken Glass is a whistlestop tour of French literature and civilization, and if you don’t know your Marivaux, your Chateaubriand, your ENAs and Weston shoes you’ll miss a lot of the gags (“a quarrel of Brest,” anyone?)—but don’t worry, there are still plenty left. It’s not just French writers who make an appearance. That arch navel-gazer Holden Caulfield . . . has a walk-on part, and Broken Glass ends “we'll meet again, in the other world, Holden, we’ll have a drink together . . . I’ll tell you what they do with the poor little ducks in cold countries during winter time.” Although its cultural and intertextual musings could fuel innumerable doctorates, the real meat of Broken Glass is its comic brio, and Mabanckou’s jokes work the whole spectrum of humour . . . Much of the writing from Africa (or at least most of the stuff we get to see) is of an earnest or grim character, and it makes a pleasant change to encounter a writer who isn’t afraid of a laugh.” —Tibor Fischer, The Guardian
“This is not cute Africa, as described by Alexander McCall Smith . . . Mabanckou is one of Africa’s liveliest and most original voices, and this novel pulses with energy and invention.” —Kate Saunders, The Times (London)
“A dizzying combination of erudition, bawdy humor and linguistic effervescence." —Melissa McClements, Financial Times
“Mabanckou . . . positions himself at the margins, tapping the tradition founded by Celine, Genet and other subversive writers. His bursts of grandiloquent magical realism are a promising approach for a region where realism and naturalism have become blunted in the face of intractable problems. The accompanying humour, too, is welcome. With his sourly comic recollections, Broken Glass makes a fine companion.” —Peter Carty, The Independent
“One of the most entertaining reads of the year . . . another unemployed regular at Credit Gone West, who never once uses a full stop to record these sad but hilarious raw and gritty stories, but who does so in the most readable, enjoyable way that you’re quite bummed when the book ends. Great voice; great reading.” —Barcelona Review
“His voice is original and penetrating, his language irreverent and precise . . . His inventive wordplays, his love of books and his desire to break down clichéd perceptions of African and European literatures and cultures create a world in which every reader will find a home. Broken Glass is an exuberant comic novel, the perfect antidote for those still looking for Africa’s burning libraries.” —Laila Lamali, The National
“Witty, silly, funny and vivid, it is an insouciant novel in the very best sense.” —Jason Weaver, Spike Magazine
“This is Taxi Driver for Africa’s blank generation . . . a deftly ironic Grand Guignol, a pulp fiction vision of Frantz Fanon’s “wretched of the earth” that somehow manages to be both frightening and self-mocking at the same time.” —Time Out New York
“Disturbing—and disturbingly funny.” —New Yorker
“Mabanckou manages to write playfully about an alarming subject.” — Melissa McClements, Financial Times
“A macabre but comical take on a would-be serial killer.” —Vanity Fair
“African Psycho, first published in French in 2003, is the auspicious North American debut from a francophone author who most certainly deserves to be discovered. It is smart, stylish and plenty ‘literary’ . . . The French have already called [Mabanckou] a young writer to watch. After this debut, I certainly concur.” —Globe and Mail
“Mabanckou’s novel . . . discovers a fascinating new way to hang readers on those tenterhooks . . . African Psycho presents no gloomy Raskolnikov, nor the fixed sneer of Patrick Bateman, but a haunted burlesque.” —The Believer
“Backly funny . . . this is a distinctive contribution to the slum-fiction genre.” —Sukhdev Sandhu, The New Statesman
“Taut . . . Dark and darkly comic . . . brings into sharp relief the life of an outsider, an anti-hero.” —Laila Lamali, The National
“Alain Mabanckou is like this tree he has evoked in his poetry: Tall, graceful, peaceful, yet a powerhouse of ideas. One of the foremost voices in Francophone literature, this poet-novelist from Congo Brazzaville has always drawn from his African roots.” —Anupama R., The Hindu
“[A] very compelling (and very well-translated) exercise in literary voice.” —Publishers Weekly
Memoirs of a Porcupine
“Mature, shocking, hilarious, innovative.” —Magazine Littéraire
“A wind of change inspires this funny, ironic text stuffed with literary references.”
“A lively and malicious homage to the world, devilishly spicy . . . A treat, make no mistake about it.” —Télérama
Posted March 31, 2012
Look. First u shouldnt post a secret meeting place in camp where any one can see it. Second off u said u guys ignore stupid rp and then u go around wearing opal necklaces and stuff. Cats dont wear necklaces or if they do its bcause their twolegs made them and they r a kitty pet!(r u a kitty pet?)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 31, 2010
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