Before the Birth of the Moon

V. Y. Mudimbe, Author Simon & Schuster $8.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-66840-2
Mudimbe, a comparative literature professor at Duke University, makes his American debut with this compelling, poetic novel, elegantly translated from the French, about his homeland. Set in the rebellion-torn Zaire of the 1960s, it is the story of a cynical Minister of State and his love for a beautiful prostitute, and the fluctuating balance of power in their relationship as they become enmeshed, both willingly and unwillingly, in the political intrigue and tribal loyalties that will destroy them. The Minister's reflections on their attachment comprise much of the tale, and though occasionally abstruse, they are eloquent and insightful. Rarely do we enter into the prostitute's point of view. The shifts of perspective between the cool observations of the Minister and those of the unidentified and unsettling second-person narrator keep us distanced from the charactersa masterful narrative parallel for the protagonists' detachment from their own lives. The novel's heavy sense of impending doom keeps us reading until the blistering conclusion. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Hardcover - 978-0-671-67566-0
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