Overview - Alain Mabanckou's riotous new novel centers on the patrons of a run-down bar in the Congo. 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. Read more...
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More About Broken Glass by Alain Mabanckou; Helen Stevenson
Alain Mabanckou's riotous new novel centers on the patrons of a run-down bar in the Congo. 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. But Broken Glass fails spectacularly at staying out of trouble as one denizen after another wants to rewrite history in an attempt at making sure his portrayal will properly reflect their exciting and dynamic lives. Despondent over this apparent triumph of self-delusion over self-awareness, Broken Glass drowns his sorrows in red wine and riffs on the great books of Africa and the West. Brimming with life, death, and literary allusions, Broken Glass
is Mabanckou's finest novel -- a mocking satire of the dangers of artistic integrity.
- ISBN-13: 9781593762735
- ISBN-10: 1593762739
- Publisher: Soft Skull Press
- Publish Date: June 2010
- Page Count: 165
Books > Fiction > Literary
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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Set in a sad-sack Congolese bar called Credit Gone West, this ingeniously satirical novel by Congolese poet and novelist Mabanckou (African Psycho) creates a microcosm of postcolonial African experience through the tales of sodden bar patrons. Broken Glass, a 64-year-old former teacher who renounced a conventional life for the drinking life, jots down his and others' stories in a notebook given to him by the bar's owner, Stubborn Snail, because “the days when grandmothers reminisced from their deathbeds was gone now.” 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. Another fixture, Printer, recounts the convoluted tale of his travels in France, where he married a gorgeous white woman, moved to a Paris suburb “well away from negroes,” and then discovered his wife was sleeping with his visiting son. Mabanckou moves fluidly from story to story, stringing sentences together without periods and settling into a pleasing prose rhythm. Literary allusions (Holden Caulfield has a cameo) and gentle ironies punctuate this wickedly entertaining novel. (June)