Product Details

$17.00  $15.81
Penguin Books
Publish Date
5.1 X 7.74 X 0.97 inches | 0.76 pounds

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About the Author

Maryse Condé is the Grande Dame of Caribbean Literature. She was born in Guadeloupe in 1937 as the youngest of eight siblings. She taught Francophone Literature at Colombia University in New York, and lived there for many years. She has also lived in various West African countries, most notably in Mali, where she gained inspiration for her worldwide bestseller Segu, for which she was awarded the African Literature Prize and several other respected French awards. Condé was awarded the 2018 New Academy Prize (or "Alternative Nobel") in Literature as well as the 2021 Prix mondial Cino Del Duca for her oeuvre. She also received the Grand-Croix de l'Ordre national du Mérite from President Emmanuel Macron in 2020. She conquered the hearts of many readers in English-language territories with her novels The Wondrous and Tragic Life of Ivan and Ivana and Waiting for the Waters to Rise, longlisted for the 2021 National Book Award for Translated Literature in the US.


Praise for Segu

"The most significant novel about black Africa published in many a year." --The New York Times Book Review

"Condé . . . is the great novelist of the Afro-Atlantic world, and Segu, her masterpiece, is the mother of diaspora epics. . . . Despite its magisterial scope, Segu is also warm and gossipy. . . . Condé has a wicked sense of humor [and] excels at evoking the tensions of a world in flux." --The New Yorker

"Exotic, richly textured and detailed, this narrative, alternating between the lives of various characters, illuminates magnificently a little known historical period. Virtually every page glitters with nuggets of cultural fascination." --Los Angeles Times

"A wondrous novel about a period of African history few other writers have addressed. . . . Much of the novel's radiance comes from the lush description of a traditional life that is both exotic and violent." --Charles L. Larson, The New York Times Book Review

"Exotic, richly textured and detailed, this narrative, alternating between the lives of various characters, illuminates magnificently a little-known historical period. Virtually every page glitters with nuggets of cultural fascination." --Los Angeles Times

"With the dazzling storytelling skills of an African griot, Maryse Condé has written a rich, fast-paced saga of a great kingdom during the tumultuous period of the slave trade and the coming of Islam. Segu is history as vivid and immediate as today. It has restored a part of my past that has long been missing." --Paule Marshall

"Segu is an overwhelming accomplishment. It injects into the density of history characters who are as alive as you and I. Passionate, lusty, greedy, they are in conflict with themselves as well as with God and Mammon. Maryse Condé has done us all a tremendous service by rendering a history so compelling and exciting. Segu is a literary masterpiece I could not put down." --Louise Meriwether

"A stunning reaffirmation of Africa and its peoples as set down by others whose works have gone unnoticed. Ms. Condé not only backs them up, but provides new insights as well. . . . Segu has its own dynamic. It's a starburst." --John A. Williams

Praise for Maryse Condé

"[A] giant of literature . . . We can follow not just the history of the Caribbean, but the African diaspora in her oeuvre." --Edwidge Danticat

"She describes the ravages of colonialism and the post-colonial chaos in a language which is both precise and overwhelming. In her stories the dead live close to the living in a world where gender, race, and class are constantly turned over in new constellations." --Jury citation, New Academy Prize in Literature

"Condé is a born storyteller." --Publishers Weekly

"Maryse Condé is a great storyteller, she has managed to explore very political issues--gender, race, colonialism, class, postcolonial issues, slavery--and she did that a long time ago, and she did that in a variety of historical and geographical backgrounds. For me, she is a pioneer for us Afro-descendent women writers. She bridges gaps among the whole Black diaspora." --BEATA UMUBYEYI MAIRESSE

"She is part of our Black family ... She has helped us to see ourselves reflected in so many different mirrors that she holds for us ... She is a force of nature, she is an inspiration to women ... She has given us so much."--BISI ADJAPON

"There are lots of things I like about Maryse Condé's writing, but one thing that gets me every time is the lyricism of her prose."--CHIKA UNIGWE

"It's inspiring to see that Condé gives words and meaning to our histories--African histories, Black histories, Black lives."--CLARICE GARGARD

"Maryse Condé has given me the freedom to call myself woman." --EDWIGE-RENÉE DRO

"Maryse Condé is an African literary elder ... she reminds us Anglophone readers that there is a world of Francophone literature out there that we are missing out on. I would like to point out that Maryse Condé built a bridge between Africa and the Caribbean world ... There's this thing she does where she holds the reader's hand, and the reader gets comfortable ... and somewhere along the way you get smacked in the face." --JENNIFER NANSUBUGA MAKUMBI

"Her writing is so rich. It's so vibrant. But, as well, you are learning things all the time. She's just a wonderful storyteller. She's a masterful storyteller. But she also has a sense of realism in her work. It's just wonderful--it's an experience, reading her work." --KADIJA GEORGE

"Maryse Condé shows African lives in a way that's rich, that's glamorous, and in a way that shows the characters to be as flawed as they really are ... It's very rare to come across a writer of fiction who puts so much of their personal story into their work ... Her books challenge one's perceptions of oneself, which I think is one of the greatest things that Miss Maryse Condé does for the Black person. When you read her work you are forced to reexamine the definition of your own Blackness." --LOLA SHONEYIN

"Her work really links the questions that face Black people all over the world ... showing you the conditions that the Black person faces in the world." --MOLARA WOOD

"I love the honesty ... she doesn't go with the flow. It's very easy for someone of her generation to have gone along with the tide of African socialism or Négritude, that sort of thing, but she's always been honest about any misgivings or disinterest in certain currents of thinking and culture. She's very original in that respect."--NOO SARO-WIWA

"I think she embodies the world. She belongs to the world ... the breadth of her global experience, at a time when we didn't speak about Black women as belonging to the world is remarkable." --SISONKE MSIMANG

"What I like is that she's honest. I think she has confidence in her readers and lets them think for themselves, and that I appreciate a lot." --VÉRONIQUE TADJO

"Maryse Condé has managed to successfully bridge the gap between Africa and its diaspora. If nothing else, reading her work helps us get into the mindset to know about our brothers and sisters from the diaspora." --ZUKISWA WANNER

"Maryse Condé is a treasure of world literature, writing from the center of the African diaspora with brilliance and a profound understanding of all humanity."--RUSSELL BANKS

"Maryse Condé is the grande dame of Caribbean literature." --NCRV Gids