Kossi Efoui: La fabrique de cérémonies [The Ceremony Factory]

efoui

The latest addition to my website is Kossi Efoui‘s La fabrique de cérémonies [The Ceremony Factory], the first Togolese novel on my website. It tells the story of Edgar Fall, a Togolese translator, who had studied in the Soviet Union but lost his scholarship when the Soviet Union collapsed and now lives in a small flat on the eighth floor in Paris, translating pornographic photonovels into Russian. He is offered the chance to do a report for a magazine specialising in trash travel, i.e. travel by affluent Westerners to run-down third world areas, such as the slums of Soweto or Kinshasa. He is sent to Tapiokaville, what used to be Lomé, named after the ruling general (whom no-one has seen), who is presumably based on Gnassingbé Eyadéma. His journey reveals a blighted country – dead bodies by the roadside, a key road washed away by the sea, a teenage boy necklaced, drug addiciton and orphaned children. While seeing this, he remembers his life as a child in Lomé, with his aunt, his mother and his mother’s protector. It is a grim picture of an African country which has been repressively ruled since independence. It is not available in English but one of his later books – L’ombre des choses à venir – is to be published as The Shadow of Things to Come by the University of Chicago Press next month.

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