Tchicaya U Tam’si: Les Méduses (The Madman and the Medusa)

The latest addition to my website is Tchicaya U Tam’si‘s Les Méduses (The Madman and the Medusa). The novel is set in Tchicaya U Tam’si’s home town of Pointe-Noire, Republic of the Congo in June 1944. At the beginning of the novel, in the same week but not on the same day, two men die and a third is found in a coma between the graves of the other two. The man in the coma, Luambu worked as a clerk in the offices of an export company and the French boss instructs the chief (African) clerk to investigate. He discovers that, unknown to their respective colleagues, the three men were friends. As for their deaths, theories abound. Was it to do with the war? Ghosts? Dirty deeds by Luambu? Connected with Luambu’s interest in the sister of one of the dead men? We follow events up to the deaths when all is (more or less revealed). We also see the clash between the Africans and the French, both in labour relations and worldview as this is a decidedly African novel.

Leave a comment