The Death of Comrade President
DescriptionA poignant and riotous tale of family and revolution in postcolonial Africa, from the winner of the French Voices grand prize and finalist for the Man Booker International Prize
Pointe-Noire, a bustling port town on Congo's southwestern coast, is host to Alain Mabanckou's astonishing cycle of novels that is already being hailed as one of the grandest, funniest fictional projects of our time. His novels have been twice short-listed for the Man Booker International Prize and have been described as "beautiful" (Salman Rushdie), "brutally satiric" (Uzodinma Iweala), containing "fireworks on every page" (Los Angeles Review of Books), and "vividly colloquial, mischievous and outrageous" (Marina Warner) .
Mabanckou's riotous new novel, The Death of Comrade President, returns to the 1970s milieu of his awarding-winning novel Black Moses, telling the story of Michel, a daydreamer whose life is completely overthrown when, in March 1977, just before the arrival of the rainy season, Congo's Comrade President Marien Ngouabi is brutally murdered. Thanks to his mother's kinship with the president, not even naive Michel can remain untouched. And if he is to protect his family, Michel must learn to lie.
Moving seamlessly between the small-scale worries of everyday life and the grand tragedy of postcolonial politics, Mabanckou explores the nuances of the human soul through the naive perspective of a boy who learns the realities of life--and how much must change for everything to stay the same.
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About the Author
Alain Mabanckou was born in Congo in 1966. An award-winning novelist, poet, and essayist, Mabanckou currently lives in Los Angeles, where he teaches literature at UCLA. He is the author of African Psycho, Broken Glass, Black Bazaar, Tomorrow I'll Be Twenty, The Lights of Pointe-Noire and Black Moses. In 2015, Mabanckou was a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize.
Praise for The Death of Comrade President
"The Death of Comrade President is a glorious, funny, surreal novel, set in communist Congo-Brazzaville in the 1970s. It is also a profound study of tyranny and individual choice."
"An imposing tale of colonialism in the turbulent Congo of the 1970s."
Praise for Black Moses
"The story's unflinching tone and sly humor belie the tragedy of Moses's situation, as well as the cruelty of the people he meets."
--The New Yorker
"An orphan story with biting humor. . . as pointed as it is funny."
--Los Angeles Times
"Heartbreaking . . . Black Moses abounds with moments of black humor but the levity is balanced by Mabanckou's portrait of a dysfunctional society rent by corruption."
--New York Times Book Review
"[Black Moses] rings with a beautiful poetry."
--Wall Street Journal
"Moses comes of age quickly in this offbeat bildungsroman. . ."