The Lights of Pointe-Noire: A Memoir

Alain Mabanckou (Author) Helen Stevenson (Translator)
Available

Description

A dazzling meditation on home-coming and belonging from one of "Africa's greatest writers" and the Man Booker International Prize finalist (The Guardian).

Alain Mabanckou left Congo in 1989, at the age of twenty-two, not to return until a quarter of a century later. When he finally came back to Pointe-Noire, a bustling port town on the Congo's southwestern coast, he found a country that in some ways had changed beyond recognition: The cinema where, as a child, Mabanckou gorged on glamorous American culture had become a Pentecostal church, and his secondary school has been renamed in honor of a previously despised colonial ruler.

But many things remain unchanged, not least the swirling mythology of Congolese culture that still informs everyday life in Pointe-Noire. Now a decorated writer and an esteemed professor at UCLA, Mabanckou finds he can only look on as an outsider in the place where he grew up. As he delves into his childhood, into the life of his departed mother, and into the strange mix of belonging and absence that informs his return to the Republic of the Congo, his work recalls the writing of V. S. Naipaul and Andr Aciman, offering a startlingly fresh perspective on the pain of exile, the ghosts of memory, and the paths we take back home.

Grand Prize Winner at the 2015 French Voices Awards
"This is a beautiful book, the past hauntingly reentered, the present truthfully faced, and the translation rises gorgeously to the challenge." --Salman Rushdie

"A tender, poetic chronicle of an exile's return." --Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

Price
$23.95  $22.03
Publisher
New Press
Publish Date
March 01, 2016
Pages
208
Dimensions
5.1 X 0.9 X 7.6 inches | 0.6 pounds
Language
English
Type
Hardcover
EAN/UPC
9781620971901
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Alain Mabanckou was born in 1966 in Congo. An award-winning novelist, poet, and essayist, Mabanckou currently lives in Los Angeles, where he teaches literature at UCLA. Among his acclaimed novels are African Psycho; Broken Glass; Black Bazaar; and Tomorrow I Will Be Twenty, a fictionalized retelling of Mabanckou's childhood in Congo. In 2015, Mabanckou was a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize. Helen Stevenson is the author of three novels and has worked as a translator for Faber & Faber and Serpent's Tail. Since taking up full-time writing, she regularly reviews for The Independent. She now lives in London.

Reviews

"A dazzling meditation on home-coming and belonging from one of 'Africa s greatest writers.'"
"The Guardian"
"Alain Mabanckou's joyous, vivid narrative style brings to life a frank, tender memoirFrom the Caribbean, Aime Cesaire and V.S. Naipaul pioneered this kind of journey. Now, Alain Mabanckou gives it a contemporary West African twist."
"The Independent"
His voice is vividly colloquial, mischievous andoutrageous.
Marina Warner, Man International Booker Prize Judge
"One of Africa's liveliest and most original voices."
"The Times" (London)
"At the end of this journey, the conclusion is clearthe country that lives within him is no longer his own, but Mabanckou remains loyal to his mother's last wish: 'Never forget that hot water was once cold.'"
"Telerama"
"
"This is a beautiful book, the past hauntingly re-entered, the present truthfully faced, and the translation rises gorgeously to the challenge."
Salman Rushdie
"A dazzling meditation on home-coming and belonging from one of 'Africa s greatest writers.'"
"The Guardian"
"Alain Mabanckou's joyous, vivid narrative style brings to life a frank, tender memoirFrom the Caribbean, Aime Cesaire and V.S. Naipaul pioneered this kind of journey. Now, Alain Mabanckou gives it a contemporary West African twist."
"The Independent"
His voice is vividly colloquial, mischievous andoutrageous.
Marina Warner, Man International Booker Prize Judge
"One of Africa's liveliest and most original voices."
"The Times" (London)
"At the end of this journey, the conclusion is clearthe country that lives within him is no longer his own, but Mabanckou remains loyal to his mother's last wish: 'Never forget that hot water was once cold.'"
"Telerama"
"
Praise for "The Lights of Pointe-Noire"
In lyrical and disarmingly serene prose, the author evokes shock, wonder, and sometimes dismay as he searches for his pastA tender, poetic chronicle of an exile s return.
"Kirkus"
"This is a beautiful book, the past hauntingly re-entered, the present truthfully faced, and the translation rises gorgeously to the challenge."
Salman Rushdie
"A dazzling meditation on home-coming and belonging from one of 'Africa s greatest writers.'"
"The Guardian"
"Alain Mabanckou's joyous, vivid narrative style brings to life a frank, tender memoirFrom the Caribbean, Aime Cesaire and V.S. Naipaul pioneered this kind of journey. Now, Alain Mabanckou gives it a contemporary West African twist."
"The Independent"
His voice is vividly colloquial, mischievous andoutrageous.
Marina Warner, Man International Booker Prize Judge
"One of Africa's liveliest and most original voices."
"The Times" (London)
"At the end of this journey, the conclusion is clearthe country that lives within him is no longer his own, but Mabanckou remains loyal to his mother's last wish: 'Never forget that hot water was once cold.'"
"Telerama"
"
Winner, 2015 French Voices Award
Praise for "The Lights of Pointe-Noire"
"The author s real achievement is to capture a universal experience, one ever more common in the age of mass migration: what it means to come home after a long absence. . . . Few books about Africa will find it easier to attract readers far away."
"The Economist"
""The Lights of Pointe-Noire" is a thoughtful, lyrical meditation on homecoming that artfully explores the paradoxes of a narrator torn between his new life and the roots of his childhoodand a worthy addition to a rewarding body of work."
"New Statesman"
"Sparklingly translated, this compact and artful memoir illustrates the universality of the maxim: you really can t go home again."
"Financial Times"
"An unusually generous memoir. The book invites the readers in, allowing us to accompany the writer at every stage of his trip home. Snapshots of the people and places in the book make Pointe-Noire seem close and familiar by the time the memoir ends. Indeed, by the end of the book . . . it is hard to say good-bye."
Words Without Borders
A tender, poetic chronicle of an exile s return.
"Kirkus Reviews"
"This is a beautiful book, the past hauntingly re-entered, the present truthfully faced, and the translation rises gorgeously to the challenge."
Salman Rushdie
"A dazzling meditation on home-coming and belonging from one of 'Africa s greatest writers.'"
"The Guardian"
"Alain Mabanckou s joyous, vivid narrative style brings to life a frank, tender memoir."
"The Independent"
His voice is vividly colloquial, mischievous andoutrageous.
Marina Warner, Man International Booker Prize Judge
"One of Africa's liveliest and most original voices."
"The Times" (London)
"At the end of this journey, the conclusion is clearthe country that lives within him is no longer his own, but Mabanckou remains loyal to his mother's last wish: 'Never forget that hot water was once cold.'"
"Telerama""
Winner, 2015 French Voices Award
Praise for The Lights of Pointe-Noire
"The author's real achievement is to capture a universal experience, one ever more common in the age of mass migration: what it means to come home after a long absence. . . . Few books about Africa will find it easier to attract readers far away."
--The Economist
"The Lights of Pointe-Noire is a thoughtful, lyrical meditation on homecoming that artfully explores the paradoxes of a narrator torn between his new life and the roots of his childhood--and a worthy addition to a rewarding body of work."
--New Statesman
"Sparklingly translated, this compact and artful memoir illustrates the universality of the maxim: you really can't go home again."
--Financial Times
"An unusually generous memoir. The book invites the readers in, allowing us to accompany the writer at every stage of his trip home. Snapshots of the people and places in the book make Pointe-Noire seem close and familiar by the time the memoir ends. Indeed, by the end of the book . . . it is hard to say good-bye."
--Words Without Borders
"A tender, poetic chronicle of an exile's return."
--Kirkus Reviews
"This is a beautiful book, the past hauntingly re-entered, the present truthfully faced, and the translation rises gorgeously to the challenge."
--Salman Rushdie
"A dazzling meditation on home-coming and belonging from one of 'Africa's greatest writers.'"
--The Guardian
"Alain Mabanckou's joyous, vivid narrative style brings to life a frank, tender memoir."
--The Independent
"His voice is vividly colloquial, mischievous and...outrageous."
--Marina Warner, Man International Booker Prize Judge
"One of Africa's liveliest and most original voices."
--The Times (London)
"At the end of this journey, the conclusion is clear--the country that lives within him is no longer his own, but Mabanckou remains loyal to his mother's last wish: 'Never forget that hot water was once cold.'"
--Telerama
Winner, 2015 French Voices Award

Praise for The Lights of Pointe-Noire
"The author's real achievement is to capture a universal experience, one ever more common in the age of mass migration: what it means to come home after a long absence. . . . Few books about Africa will find it easier to attract readers far away."
--The Economist

"The Lights of Pointe-Noire is a thoughtful, lyrical meditation on homecoming that artfully explores the paradoxes of a narrator torn between his new life and the roots of his childhood--and a worthy addition to a rewarding body of work."
--New Statesman

"Sparklingly translated, this compact and artful memoir illustrates the universality of the maxim: you really can't go home again."
--Financial Times

"An unusually generous memoir. The book invites the readers in, allowing us to accompany the writer at every stage of his trip home. Snapshots of the people and places in the book make Pointe-Noire seem close and familiar by the time the memoir ends. Indeed, by the end of the book . . . it is hard to say good-bye."
--Words Without Borders

"A tender, poetic chronicle of an exile's return."
--Kirkus Reviews

"This is a beautiful book, the past hauntingly re-entered, the present truthfully faced, and the translation rises gorgeously to the challenge."
--Salman Rushdie

"A dazzling meditation on home-coming and belonging from one of 'Africa's greatest writers.'"
--The Guardian

"Alain Mabanckou's joyous, vivid narrative style brings to life a frank, tender memoir."
--The Independent

"His voice is vividly colloquial, mischievous and...outrageous."
--Marina Warner, Man International Booker Prize Judge

"One of Africa's liveliest and most original voices."
--The Times (London)

"At the end of this journey, the conclusion is clear--the country that lives within him is no longer his own, but Mabanckou remains loyal to his mother's last wish: 'Never forget that hot water was once cold.'"
--Telerama