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Francis Spufford, 2 April 1987

Greyhound for Breakfast 
by James Kelman.
Secker, 230 pp., £10.95, March 1987, 0 436 23283 9
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Pauper, Brawler and Slanderer 
by Amos Tutuola.
Faber, 156 pp., £9.95, March 1987, 0 571 14714 3
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... Kelman continues to believe what he said, and continues to write accordingly. The Nigerian writer Amos Tutuola’s engaging tale Pauper, Brawler and Slanderer draws on another vernacular. Indeed, readers who are unfamiliar with the tradition he writes in will wonder whether we are getting a Yoruba folk-story in the manner of ...


Jeremy Harding: Arthur Rimbaud, 30 July 1998

Somebody Else: Arthur Rimbaud in Africa 1880-91 
by Charles Nicholl.
Vintage, 336 pp., £7.99, May 1998, 0 09 976771 6
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A Season in Hell and Illuminations 
by Arthur Rimbaud, translated by Mark Treharne.
Dent, 167 pp., £18.99, June 1998, 0 460 87958 8
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... an ex-child possibly, or a dead child haunting the outskirts of a village (not Sembène now, but Amos Tutuola). ‘Ici-bas, pourtant!’ – ‘and yet still here on earth!’ (‘Mauvais sang’). And still held hostage by literary history, determined to poeticise his flight from poetry. As Nicholl explains with great subtlety, what was a radical break ...

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