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Tomorrow I'll Be Twenty

by Alain Mabanckou

Michel, who is ten, tells us in his own words amusing but sometimes poignant stories of his life and family in the Congo in the late seventies. We learn about the political context too as he spends some time giving his personal opinion of the news he hears on Voice from America. And what a captivating narrator - an absolute delight.

Extract

A wake lasts at least two or three days, sometimes as long as a week, even two if the dead person’s not happy with his family and sulking in his coffin. Then you have to wait for the traditional chiefs to arrive from their village with their tam-tams and fetishers, to make gris-gris. The fetishers will ask the dead person to move on to heaven for good, and not come back haunting people round midnight. Some dead people are really tricky, they start bothering people on the day they’re due to go to the cemetery: they jam the wheels of the hearse, so it can’t move forward, they throw thunderbolts around the quartier, make rain, and their ghost comes to the funeral ceremony to check no one’s making fun of the corpse …
Translated by Helen Stevenson

Parallels

No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander MCall Smith
Ake by Wole Soyinka
When we were Romans by Matthew Keane
 

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