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A Severed Penis

Elizabeth Lowry: Magic realism in Mozambique, 3 February 2005

The Last Flight of the Flamingo 
by Mia Couto, translated by David Brookshaw.
Serpent’s Tail, 179 pp., £9.99, March 2004, 1 85242 813 9
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... Mia Couto is a white Mozambican who writes in Portuguese, perhaps the most prominent of his generation of writers – he is 50 this year – in Lusophone Africa. His recurring theme is post-revolutionary Mozambique’s struggle to achieve credible nationhood; specifically, to channel its resources in such a way as to benefit its people rather than its apparatchiks ...

Sing like Parrots

Adewale Maja-Pearce: Ngugi wa Thiong’o, 15 December 2016

Birth of a Dream Weaver: A Writer’s Awakening 
by Ngugi wa Thiong’o.
Harvill Secker, 256 pp., £14.99, November 2016, 978 1 84655 989 1
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... the end of the colonial era, as modernity closed in. And what of writers like Nadine Gordimer or Mia Couto, writing only in a European language? Are we meant to dismiss them as non-Africans? Ngugi’s real objection is to the power and prestige of European languages, and the way teachers hammered them into their pupils. He also saw, correctly, that ...

Didn’t we agree to share?

Sheila Heti: ‘The First Wife’, 13 July 2017

The First Wife 
by Paulina Chiziane, translated by David Brookshaw.
Archipelago, 250 pp., £14.99, August 2016, 978 0 914671 48 0
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... novel, but the first to be translated into English, which shared the José Craveirinha prize with Mia Couto in 2003 – is Rami, a woman of forty. She is a mother of five, and the wife of Tony, a police chief. Although they have been married for twenty years, their relationship began to suffer long ago when his promotions and growing wealth meant ...

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