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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 ...

Didn’t we agree to share?

Sheila Heti: ‘The First Wife’, 12 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 ...

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 ...

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