A novel about cowardice and courage in the face of repression, from a powerful new voice of French-African literature.
The imaginary country of Sumal is a happy place, until, that is, it’s taken hostage by a fundamentalist jihadist organization called The Brotherhood. The populace quickly becomes locked in a climate of violence, falling under the control of the militias as they impose silence, terror and the most rigid moral laws. Prohibitions and public executions become the norm, while a handful of intellectuals try to oppose the new order by publishing an underground newspaper. Repression on the part of the Islamic police is swift and ruthless, and it sows doubt in the minds of the activists: how can their endeavour be good, if it causes detention, torture, and worse, to those who read it? But there is no climate of terror that can stop love from blossoming, and so it does, powerfully, among two members of the secret resistance group, as love and death tangle together. This, and the wider story, are narrated through letters exchanged by the young couple’s grieving mothers.
Mohamed Mbougar Sarr
Mohamed Mbougar Sarr was born in Senegal in 1990. Brotherhood (Terre ceinte), received the Ahmadou Kourouma literary prize as well as the Grand Prix du Roman Métis. In 2018, he became the youngest writer to have been awarded the World Literature Prize, for his second novel Silence du choeur. An extract from his third novel, De purs hommes, was published in Granta Magazine in 2019. He currently lives in Paris. He runs a blog: http://chosesrevues.over-blog.com/