Broken Glass is a Congolese riff on European classics from the most notable Francophone African writer of Alain Mabanckou was born in in the Congo . Broken Glass, By Alain Mabanckou. Magical tales from a bar in Africa. Peter Carty; Thursday 9 April 0 comments. Best known for his novel African Psycho, the Congelese novelist and poet Alain Mabanckou likes to write playfully about his country’s more.

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Broken Glass

Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? It nabanckou translated from French by Helen Stevenson. Is this feature helpful? The numerous repetitions in expressions give something vivid to the stories of the regulars of the bar.

First of all, I learned French when I was six. Take these lines, which could have come from one of Alan Coren’s s Idi Amin dispatches: Mabanckou has twice been a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize, in and This means that the reader sometimes glosses over significant portions of the novel as she stumbles through the language. It’s funny without being silly or sweaty, and filled with allusions without seeming pretentious. Open Preview See a Problem? And now, lastly and with a charitable heart, Brokej have to rank Mabanckou well ahead of the heavy-handed moralists and state-sponsored, legend-regurgitating recidivists that fall seamlessly into heavy-rotation in African lit classes and high school syllabi.

Alain Mabanckou’s “Broken Glass” – Words Without Borders

The Memory of Love. I highly recommend it; the humor is my style, precisely because of the narrative style, of the choice of words, and of this morphing of verbs and adjectives and phrases to mabwnckou such a powerful image of a micro-world; that of a poor, neglected African “quartier”. Hitchcock was a real life-size character, a talented man, a guy who could make your spine shiver just with a few birds, or a rear window, he could turn you into a psycho with a single characteristic little trick….

He writes downs the stories as they come to him and as they are told by the man who wears Pampers, the man who once lived in France or the man who the won the pissing contest. In a country that appears to have forgotten the importance of remembering, a former schoolteacher and bar regular nicknamed Broken Glass has been elected to record their stories for posterity.


In fact the best parts of the book are when Mabanckou goes alaih on a jazz like riff where he ties in unrelated things in clever ways. If you don’t buy it, it’s because you’re uppity. The bar owner, Stubborn Snail, asks Broken to create a chronicle of the other inhabitants. It glss bit stream-of-consciousness from a man who is supposed to be recording about his life in a journal but is busier drinking.

Want to Read saving…. Mabanckou draws heavily on his predecessors as he pursues this project, and it is perhaps one of the most notable characteristics of Broken Glass that it is absolutely littered with literary allusions.

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In this way, Broken Glass is not exactly a novel of memory. Broken Glass is narrated from the perspective of its title character, an ex-teacher with too great a love for Congolese palm wine. It was only when we were on the train when she told us that she was eavesdropping on a group of friends who were discussing dramatic events of the night before.

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. This is a hard read, but worthwhile. I read a couple of excerpts translated into English, and I honestly felt the rhythm, the flow of the words, the repetition of expressions, and most certainly the humor of the book lacked their charm.

That arch navel-gazer Holden Caulfield or someone claiming to be him has a walk-on part, and Broken Glass ends “we’ll meet again, in the other world, Holden, we’ll have a drink together Tragedy doesn’t change, the same stories repeat.

Perhaps rather borken try mabancckou explain: Broken Glass endures ribald tales by unsavory regulars such as Pampers, a frequenter of the sex district who lands in jail, only to be sexually abused by the inmates. There are so many hidden marvels that an average reader will probably pick up about one third of them.


Alain Mabanckou’s Broken Glass

An online search came up with only partial lists of the references. Occasionally real life with aalin unrestrained tales wins over literature because my sister preferred to be listening to their chattering rather than sitting on a bench and reading a book in peace. They have hardly forgotten, at least on a personal level. There comes a point when an unreliable narrator is so reliably unreliable that you can question whether he’s really unreliable.

He is widely acknowledged as one of the most important and decorated authors writing in French today. There are a lot of references to French and African literature and politics that I’m sure I missed.

He used to mabbanckou a teacher, a calling that he loved, but his alcoholism led him to do many unacceptable things in the classroom until he was finally fired. Learn more about Amazon Prime. Broken Glass, the narrator of the novel, has been given a notebook by the owner of the bar he frequents and has been told to immortalise this drinking den for the benefit of the future generations.

There’s a problem loading this menu right now. M unching on his bicycle chicken apparently a Congolese term for scrawny poultryBroken Glass – the eponymous narrator – tells us the story of the bar he frequents: Christine Schwartz Hartley is the translator of African Psycho. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. Nroken was shocked to see later on that there was no literature in these languages. In the least successful passages, the style is just distracting.

The bar owner, Stubborn Snail, asks Broken to create a chronicle of the other inhabitants. Only names and places start with capitals.

It has layers that reveal themselves as it goes. Sadness repeats itself and never ends.