Ken Bugul’s novel is a dialogue between a daughter and her dead mother, whom she accuses of not having loved her and having preferred her sister ; it describes a relationship and a world from which love and truth seem absent. In a poetic fashion, alternating short sentences with poetry – as though pulsed by the murmur of despair – in a litany of remembrances, the author attempts to tell the ineffable pain of lost things.
Ken Bugul – whose name in Wolof means “one who is unwanted” – was born in Senegal in 1947, to a father who was a marabout (type of African shaman) and a mother who had to leave her when she was only 5 years old. She has worked as an international civil servant and now she lives in Benin. Her work, in which she combines her sense of humour with an innate talent for story-telling, is flooded with themes such as the status of women, Islam or North-South relationships. With her lucid, free and uncompromising look, she is one of the major voices in contemporary African literature.
Among her books are: La folie et la mort [Madness and Death], (Présence africaine, 2000), Rue Félix-Faure (Serpent à Plumes, 2004).
Year of publication of the pan-African version: 2008, 282 pages,
11,5 X 19 cm