The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar

Syl Cheney-Coker, Author Heinemann Educational Books $9.95 (398p) ISBN 978-0-435-90572-9
Pioneering former slaves from New World plantations, Englishmen, Arabs and natives marry and murder in this passionate epic history of the small town of Malagueta on the Atlantic coast of Africa. Covering two centuries, the tale ends with a modern-day failed coup. The harmattan, a dust-laden wind that sometimes blows in the area, comes to symbolize the misfortune of the town's inhabitants as it grows, prospers and is finally ruined by disaster in an unavoidable, bittersweet cycle of events first prophesied by the legendary Sulaiman the Nubian. Renamed Alusine Dunbar in his active afterlife, in which he occasionally returns to Malagueta, Sulaiman develops testicles with vision, which hang to the ground. This first novel by West African Cheney-Coker is full of such unusual occurrences, but in the tradition of magical realism, a sense of history and psychological drama make the story believable. The riveting skeleton of the narrative is often slowed, however, by fatty adjectives and verbiage, and tired metaphors (such as ``the floodgates of her desires'') sometimes mar the otherwise titillating love scenes. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Genre: Fiction
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