Kazakhstan and Madagascar

abai

Continuing my reading of novels from countries that I have not yet read a novel from, the latest addition to my website is Mukhtar Auezov‘s Абай жолы (Abai). This is a novel by one of Kazakhstan’s foremost novelists, telling the story of one of Kazakhstan’s foremost poets. It is an excellent novel, recounting not only the story of Abai the poet but also giving an excellent introduction to Kazakh customs and culture in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century. Abai is the son of the head of a group of nomadic tribes and his story is about how he becomes a great poet and a great leader but also how his tribe and other Kazakh tribes change with the arrival of the Russians.

bain

From Madagascar, I have added Michèle Rakotoson‘s Le Bain des reliques [The Bath of Relics]. Sadly, this novel is not available in English translation and is even difficult to obtain in French. It really is an excellent novel, though at times somewhat harrowing, depicting the filming of a ceremony involving royal relics but also aiming to show how bad the situation is in Madagascar under the Marxist government, with famine, poverty, disease, death and decay rife throughout the country.

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