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I Was an Elephant Salesman: Adventures between Dakar, Paris, and Milan [NOOK Book]

Overview

A landmark bestseller in Italy, I Was an Elephant Salesman gives a name
and a face to the thousands of anonymous African street vendors in cities across
Europe. Through the voice of a thinly veiled first-person narrator, Pap Khouma
offers us a chilling, intimate, and often...

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I Was an Elephant Salesman: Adventures between Dakar, Paris, and Milan

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Overview

A landmark bestseller in Italy, I Was an Elephant Salesman gives a name
and a face to the thousands of anonymous African street vendors in cities across
Europe. Through the voice of a thinly veiled first-person narrator, Pap Khouma
offers us a chilling, intimate, and often ironic glimpse into the life of an illegal
immigrant. Khouma invents a life for himself as an itinerant trader of carved
elephants, small ivories, and other "African" trinkets, struggling to
maintain courage and dignity in the face of despair and humiliation. Constantly on
the run from the authorities, he finds insight into the vicissitudes of law and
politics, the constraints of citizenship, national borders, skin color, and the
often paralyzing difficulties of obtaining basic human needs. His story reveals a
contemporary Europe struggling to come to terms with its multiracial,
multireligious, and multicultural identity.

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Editorial Reviews

ForeWord Reviews

"This autobiographical novel is a treasure, a narrative of courage, optimism, and resilience.... Khouma gives his audience much food for thought." —ForeWord Reviews

World Literature in Review

"[T]he sly humor of its first-person narrator...gives this cultural critique the fast-paced charm of a road novel." —World Literature in Review, March-April 2011

Alessandra Di Maio

"One of the first and most influential autobiographical [immigrant] narratives published in Europe." —Alessandra Di Maio, University of California, Los Angeles

Jeanne Garane

"Rais[es] questions about youth culture, identity, and migrancy." —Jeanne Garane, University of South Carolina

From the Publisher
"[T]he sly humor of its first-person narrator...gives this cultural critique the fast-paced charm of a road novel." —World Literature in Review, March-April 2011
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253004604
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 8/29/2010
  • Series: Global African Voices
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 158
  • Sales rank: 918,515
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.37 (d)
  • File size: 344 KB

Meet the Author

Pap Khouma is author of Nonno Dio e gli spiriti danzanti [Grandfather god
and the dancing spirits] and founding editor of El Ghibli, an online journal of
migrant literature.

Rebecca Hopkins teaches English and writing at
the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Bologna,
Italy.

Graziella Parati is Professor of Italian at Dartmouth
College. She is author of Migration Italy.

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Table of Contents

Translator's PrefaceIntroduction by Graziella Parati

SellingIllegalAfricaThe Market in AbidjanDakarRiccioneStreet-Smart... Beach-SmartItalian MoneyPaolo il NeroGirls from SenegalPolice... Just Joking!Germany via ParisA Month in ParisThe Foreign LegionFrom Paris to RiccioneThe Car-HouseDouble MalawChief LamanA Senegalese LunchA Dresser in PiacenzaThe End of MaMilanese ChroniclesA Run on the BeachDakar via MoscowLife in SenegalA Tourist in RomeTo Catch a ThiefLacosteFights in the MetroChangesPolitical AccusationsChildren

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 30, 2010

    A story behind the stories you see

    I ordered this book simply because on our several visits to Italy we have come upon groups of obviously unsettled, young African men at tourist high-points, whether on the Riva del Schiavo in Venice or along the arcades around the vast Piazza del Duomo in Milan. One doesn't quite know what to make of them. Usually you end up seeing the state police chasing one or more of these young guys (clutching their bags of merchandise) along the main shoreline of Venice. So here's their back story, or at least the story of one young Senegalese fellow who was among the earliest of these 'illegals' in Italy. Makes for a fascinating read. A journey to a new sort of citizenship.

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