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The Lights of Pointe-Noire


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A moving meditation on home, home-coming and belonging from Francophone Africa's most important writer

About the Author

Alain Mabanckou was born in 1966 in Congo. An award-winning novelist, poet and essayist, Mabanckou currently lives in LA, where he teaches literature at UCLA. His four novels African Psycho, Broken Glass, Black Bazaar and Tomorrow I Will Be Twenty - a fictionalised retelling of Mabanckou's childhood in Congo - are all published by Serpent's Tail. The Lights of Pointe-Noire was selected for an English PEN Award, and in 2015 Mabanckou was listed as a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize.


This is a beautiful book, the past hauntingly re-entered, the present truthfully faced, and the translation rises gorgeously to the challenge. * Salman Rushdie *
Novels such as African Psycho, Memoirs of a Porcupine and (my favourite) Broken Glass have made his name as a hugely engaging storyteller whose humour, mischief and sheer bravura only throw the melancholy of his forlorn migrant heroes into even bolder relief. Now he, justly, stands among the finalists for the Man Booker International Prize, announced next week...Now he has written an overt memoir, but one that shares with his novels a glorious polyphony of voices and a winning amalgam of frankness and tenderness - deftly carried into English again by his regular translator, Helen Stevenson -- Boyd Tonkin * Independent *
Mabanckou is one of the continent's greatest writers and he's getting better with each book * Guardian *
One of Africa's liveliest and most original voices * The Times *
Mabanckou is, in fact, incomparable * Financial Times *
In search of his past, Mabanckou evokes the light and shadow of Pointe-Noire, his "lost paradise" * Radio France Internationale *
A literary blow to the solar plexus ... undulating and poignant, raw and poetic' * La Presse *
At the end of this journey, the conclusion is clear - the country that lives within him is no longer his own, but Mabanckou remains loyal to his mother's last wish: "Never forget that hot water was once cold." * Telerama *
A rich and astonishing book * L'Express *

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