Broken Glass

Alain Mabanckou, Author, Helen Stevenson, Translator , trans. from the French by Helen Stevenson. Counterpoint/Soft Skull $13.95 (165p) ISBN 978-1-59376-273-5

Set in a sad-sack Congolese bar called Credit Gone West, this ingeniously satirical novel by Congolese poet and novelist Mabanckou (African Psycho ) creates a microcosm of postcolonial African experience through the tales of sodden bar patrons. Broken Glass, a 64-year-old former teacher who renounced a conventional life for the drinking life, jots down his and others' stories in a notebook given to him by the bar's owner, Stubborn Snail, because “the days when grandmothers reminisced from their deathbeds was gone now.” Broken Glass endures ribald tales by unsavory regulars such as Pampers, a frequenter of the sex district who lands in jail, only to be sexually abused by the inmates. Another fixture, Printer, recounts the convoluted tale of his travels in France, where he married a gorgeous white woman, moved to a Paris suburb “well away from negroes,” and then discovered his wife was sleeping with his visiting son. Mabanckou moves fluidly from story to story, stringing sentences together without periods and settling into a pleasing prose rhythm. Literary allusions (Holden Caulfield has a cameo) and gentle ironies punctuate this wickedly entertaining novel. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/05/2010
Release date: 05/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 176 pages - 978-1-59376-371-8
Paperback - 165 pages - 978-1-85242-918-8
Paperback - 165 pages - 978-1-84668-675-7
Ebook - 170 pages - 978-1-84765-231-7
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