Mohamed Toihiri: La République des Imberbes [The Republic of the Beardless]

toihiri

The latest addition to my website is Mohamed Toihiri‘s La République des Imberbes [The Republic of the Beardless], the first novel from the Comoros on my website. The Comoros have had a tumultuous history since independence from France in 1975 and this novel gives a barely fictionalised account of a specific period when the ruthless Ali Soilih was in power for around two and a half years. The novel starts with his overthrow by a small group of mercenaries, led by John Ménard, the not very well disguised Bob Denard but goes on to give Soilih’s (called Guigoz in the book) thoughts about his life, ranging from his completely closing down the civil service to banning sorcery (and arresting and torturing those who practised it) to appointing young people (hence the title) to key positions. In the meantime, Soilih/Guigoz is totally ruthless, vicious and cruel to all and sundry. A fascinating book, though not available in English, to add the list of novels about dictators.

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