Welcome to a new year of Words Without Borders, and to our first issue devoted to writing from Africa. As with India, there's so much strong writing in English (especially from Nigeria and South Africa) that we Anglophones usually neglect to look any further. We're not making any anti-colonial headway by turning to French--but we are discovering some great writers. Patrice Nganang from Cameroon, for instance, with his dog's-eye view of his master in "Barking." The great Algerian writer Mohammed Dib, with his hallucinatory vision of a girl's rebellion against a murderous emir, "Bloodred Dew." The brilliant Mohamed Magani, who recounts torture by coffee in "The Butcher's Aesthetics." Congolese writer Alain Mabanckou, who in "African Psycho" crafts a satirical noir thriller out of a psychopath's worship of a serial killer. And François Devenne, with a lyrical account of a young Muslim man departing on his Kenyan clan's traditional journey to Tanzania in the fabulistic "Three Dreams on Mount Meru."
I am a dog. Who else but me can acknowledge it with such humility? Because I don't blame myself for anything, "dog" becomes no more than a word, a name: it's the name men have given
The two men were alone now. Or was it two women? The night stretched on endlessly. So did the mountain. And the frosted sky lying lightly over the mountain began to pale. The mountain stood
from The Butcher’s Aesthetics
The two friends' meetings resembled a ritual that went back to the years of holy struggle when they would drink more cups of coffee than they could count to give them energy, a small
from African Psycho
I have decided to kill Germaine on December 29.
from Three Dreams on Mount Meru
Today, in the year 1170 of the Hegira, as I finish the narration of my journey to Mount Meru, I can't help thinking about Omui. He was the best storyteller in all Mombasa. The fabulous