The Prophet of Zongo Street

Mohammed Naseehu Ali, Author . Amistad $22.95 (212p) ISBN 978-0-06-052354-1

Vivid images of African life and familiar snippets of expatriate life infuse this debut collection by a Ghana-born writer and musician. On the fictional Zongo Street in Accra, young children gather around their grandmother to hear a creation story from "the time of our ancestors' ancestors' ancestors" in "The Story of Day and Night." In "Mallam Sille," a weak, 46-year-old virgin tea seller finds soulful strength in marriage to a dominant village woman. Other stories take place in and around New York City, depicting immigrants struggling with American culture and values. A Ghanaian caregiver vows not to "grow old in this country" in "Live-In," while in "The True Aryan," an African musician and an Armenian cabbie competitively compare tragic cultural histories on the ride from Manhattan to Brooklyn, achieving humanist understanding as they reach Park Slope: "I looked into his eyes, and with a sudden deep respect said to the man, 'I'll take your pain, too.' " Several stories close in a similarly magical, almost folkloric epiphany, as when sleep becomes an attempt "to bring calm to the pulsing heart of Man" in "The Manhood Test." Ali speaks melodiously but not always provocatively in these tales of transition and emigration. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/13/2005
Release date: 07/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-06-183656-5
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Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-06-197704-6
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 224 pages - 978-0-06-183658-9
Paperback - 212 pages - 978-0-06-088750-6
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