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Sep 22
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When the Waves Have Come and Gone Plage des Catalans
Sep 22
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Ideas and Ideals: Strong Female Voices III ONLINE EVENT  Albertine Bookstore/French Embassy 972 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10075 
Sep 22
Talk
Ideas and Ideals: Strong Female Voices III ONLINE EVENT  Albertine Bookstore/French Embassy 972 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10075 

The River in the Belly

by Fiston Mwanza Mujila | Translated by J. Bret Maney

A moving lyric meditation on the Congo River that explores the identity, chaos, and wonder of the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as race and the detritus of colonialism.

With The River in the Belly, award-winning Congolese author Fiston Mwanza Mujila seeks no less than to reinitiate the Congo River in the imaginary of European languages. Through his invention of the “solitude”—a short poetic form lending itself to searing observation and troubled humor, prone to unexpected tonal shifts and lyrical u-turns—the collection celebrates, caresses, and chastises Central Africa’s great river, the world’s second largest by discharge volume.

Drawing inspiration from sources as diverse as Soviet history, Congolese popular music, international jazz, and everyday life in European exile, Mwanza Mujila has fashioned a work that can speak to the extraordinary hopes and tragedies of post-independence Democratic Republic of the Congo while also mining the generative yet embattled subject position of the African diasporic writer in Europe longing for home.

Fans of Tram 83 will rediscover in River the incandescent, improvisatory verbal energy that so dazzled them in Mwanza Mujila’s debut.


Fiston Mwanza Mujila was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1981 and lives today in Austria. His debut novel, Tram 83, published in English in 2015 by Deep Vellum, won the German International Literature Award and was longlisted for the International Man Booker and the Prix du Monde. His writing responds to political turbulence in his native country and frequently foregrounds its debt to jazz. His second novel, The Villain’s Dance, was published in France in 2020 and is forthcoming in English translation from Deep Vellum.

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