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Black Bazaar

Alain Mabanckou | Translated by Sarah Ardizzone

From the winner of the Grand Prix de la Littérature 2012

Buttocks Man is down on his uppers. His girlfriend, Original Colour, has cleared out of their Paris studio and run off to the Congo with a vertically challenged drummer known as The Mongrel. She's taken their daughter with her. Meanwhile, a racist neighbour spies on him something wicked, accusing him of'digging a hole in the Dole'. And his drinking buddies at Jips, the Afro-Cuban bar in Les Halles, pour scorn onBlack Bazaar, the journal he keeps to log his sorrows. There are days when only the Arab in the corner shop has a kind word; while at night his dreams are stalked by the cannibal pygmies of Gabon. Then again, Buttocks Man wears no ordinary uppers. He hasstyle, bags of it (suitcases of crocodile and anaconda Westons, to be precise). He's a dandy from the Bacongo district of Brazzaville - AKA a sapeur or member of the Society of Ambience-makers and People of Elegance. But is flaunting sartorial chic against tough times enough for Buttocks Man to cut it in the City of Light?

 

Reviews:

"Africa's Samuel Beckett ... Mabanckou's freewheeling prose marries classical French elegance with Paris slang and a Congolese beat." - The Economist"A dazzling cultural catalogue." - The Guardian"Captures the particular flavour of modern Paris." - The Financial Times"Features an array of unforgettable characters ... Mabanckou writes with real joie de vivre and paints a vivid, poignant portrait of the black immigrant community in Paris." - The Independent

 

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