When the Plums Are Ripe


Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date
5.8 X 9.0 X 1.3 inches | 1.35 pounds
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About the Author

Patrice Nganang was born in Cameroon and is a novelist, poet, and essayist. His novel Temps de chien received the Prix Marguerite Yourcenar and the Grand prix littéraire d'Afrique noire. He is also the author of La Joie de vivre and L'Invention d'un beau regard. He teaches comparative literature at Stony Brook University.

Amy Baram Reid is a professor of French language and literature at New College of Florida. In 2016, she received a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Translation Fellowship for When the Plums Are Ripe.


A Library Journal Best Book of 2019

"Nganang's second novel (after 2016's Mount Pleasant) in a trilogy about Cameroon takes place as the nation is forced into World War II and caught between Vichy and the Free French. The plot and action are matched by the author's powerful take on the damage colonialism inflicts for generations." --Bethanne Patrick, The Washington Post

"What happens to a colony when its colonizer becomes colonized itself? That's the questioned underlying [When the Plums Are Ripe] . . . [A] richly detailed novel . . . A brilliant, beguiling story." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Nganang is a political force whose experiences in Cameroon inform every page of this novel . . . For those who appreciate how fiction illuminates history, [When the Plums Are Ripe] will be an eye-opener." --Library Journal

"Nganang continues his rich, complex saga of WWII-era Cameroon with this second volume in a trilogy . . . [When the Plums Are Ripe] confronts the horrible history of French colonialism: the French's use of 'black soldiers for cannon fodder' in fighting the Axis powers . . . With a narrative structure reminiscent of African oral traditions, an unknown narrator heralds . . . the young men who shed their blood for a Western country and the young women left behind . . . With lyrical, soaring prose, Nganang sings their song, challenging the Euro-written history of colonialism and replacing it with a much-needed African one." --Publishers Weekly