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Black Bazaar

Buttocks Man is down on his uppers. His girlfriend, Original Colour, has cleared out of their Paris studio and run off to the Congo with a vertically challenged drummer known as The Mongrel. She's taken their daughter with her. Meanwhile, a racist neighbour spies on him something wicked, accusing him of 'digging a hole in the Dole'. And his drinking buddies at Jips, the Afro-Cuban bar in Les Halles, pour scorn on Black Bazaar, the journal he keeps to log his sorrows. There are days when only the Arab in the corner shop has a kind word; while at night his dreams are stalked by the cannibal pygmies of Gabon. Then again, Buttocks Man wears no ordinary uppers. He has style, bags of it (suitcases of crocodile and anaconda Westons, to be precise). He's a dandy from the Bacongo district of Brazzaville - AKA a sapeur or member of the Society of Ambience-makers and People of Elegance. But is flaunting sartorial chic against tough times enough for Buttocks Man to cut it in the City of Light?
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From the winner of the Grand Prix de la Litterature 2012

About the Author

Alain Mabanckou is a writer of novels, plays and poetry. He teaches French literature at UCLA in California. Previous novels, African Psycho, Broken Glass and Memoirs of a Porcupine are also published by Serpent's Tail. Black Bazaar is translated by Sarah Ardizzone.


Africa's Samuel Beckett ... Mabanckou's freewheeling prose marries classical French elegance with Paris slang and a Congolese beat * Economist * Hugely entertaining ... Mabanckou creates a vivid picture of this expat community and their at times love-hate relationship with the colonial mother country and the fraught contemporary politics of West Africa ... an enjoyable and insightful read from one of France's outstanding writers * Morning Star * A dazzling cultural catalogue * Guardian * Energetic, terrifically powerful writing -- Harriett Gilbert Captures the particular flavour of modern Paris * Financial Times * Features an array of unforgettable characters ... Mabanckou writes with real joie de vivre and paints a vivid, poignant portrait of the black immigrant community in Paris * Independent *

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