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My Father's Wives

by Jose Eduardo Agualusa

Fact and fiction mingle as the author and his characters wander through Southern Africa. From Angola to Mozambique, we meet many people - from the colourful to the fantastical - as Laurentina searches for the truth about her itinerant musician father. Told in short sections by varying narrators, I couldn’t describe this as a page turner, but the deeper more thoughtful sections gave me a totally new perspective on Africa and its inhabitants.

Extract

I'm writing these notes in the room where we're lodging, in the Hotel Panorama, an elegant building built on the sands of the Island. There is a sea in front of us, and sea behind us. Through the window I can see the lights of the city reflected in the black mirror of the bay. At night, seen from here, Luanda looks like a vast, developed metropolis. The darkness hides the rubbish and the chaos. I think of my father. I wanted to know what Mandume thought of Bartolomeu's proposition.
'Totally stupid!' he shouted ....
I got annoyed. I shouted:
'I'm so sick of you!'
Mandume stormed out of the room, furious. He slammed the door.
It's gone one in the morning and he's still not back.
Translated by Daniel Hahn

Parallels

Adventures in Africa by Gianni Celati
The Raw Scent of Vanilla by Emilia Bresciani
 

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