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Black Moses


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About the Author

Alain Mabanckou was born in Congo in 1966. An award-winning novelist, poet, and essayist, Mabanckou currently lives in Los Angeles, where he teaches literature at UCLA. He is the author of African Psycho, Broken Glass, Black Bazaar, Tomorrow I'll Be Twenty, and The Lights of Pointe-Noire. In 2015, Mabanckou was a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize.


Praise for Black Moses
"Mabanckou populates his tale with a range of colorful supporting characters who tell the narrator their stories -- mixtures of truth and lie, of history and mythology and wishful thinking -- and these voices imbue the novel's relative brevity with a surprising polyphonic texture."
--San Francisco Chronicle

"The story's unflinching tone and sly humor belie the tragedy of Moses's situation, as well as the cruelty of the people he meets."
--The New Yorker

"An orphan story with biting humor. . . as pointed as it is funny."
--Los Angeles Times

"Heartbreaking . . . Black Moses abounds with moments of black humor but the levity is balanced by Mabanckou's portrait of a dysfunctional society rent by corruption."
--New York Times Book Review

"[Black Moses] rings with a beautiful poetry."
--Wall Street Journal

"One of the most compelling books you'll read in any language this year."
--Rolling Stone

"Moses comes of age quickly in this offbeat bildungsroman. . ."
--Chicago Tribune

"Vivid and funny."
--New York Magazine

"A small book with a big narrative voice, this wacky new novel by Mabanckou follows the existential misfortunes of an orphan . . . This mythic, beguiling novel is a journey to discover what is hard-wired in us and what we make up about ourselves."
--Publishers Weekly (starred)

"Funny and sharply satiric...Mabanckou has created a vibrant world in which Pointe-Noir has taken on the stature of an African Yoknapatawpha County."

"This tightly contained, densely packed story issues a challenge that never loses its urgency: how does a person cling to a sense of autonomy when it's under siege by so many powerful forces?"
--Kirkus Reviews (starred)

Praise for the French edition:
"A delicious and delicate novel."
-- Le Monde

"From the first sentence there is an ease and spirit, and you know instantly that this story is authentic. Alain Mabanckou has a gift."
-- Le Figaro Litteraire

"A wonderful urban tale."
-- Le Magazine Litteraire

"Tasty but light to begin with, then quickly built and powerful, ultimately shattering."
-- Marianne

"He wields a sweet and fleshy tongue."
-- La Vie

Praise for Alain Mabanckou's The Lights of Pointe-Noire
"In lyrical and disarmingly serene prose, the author evokes shock, wonder, and sometimes dismay as he searches for his past...A tender, poetic chronicle of an exile's return."
-- Kirkus

"This is a beautiful book, the past hauntingly reentered, the present truthfully faced, and the translation rises gorgeously to the challenge."
--Salman Rushdie

"Alain Mabanckou's joyous, vivid narrative style brings to life a frank, tender memoir."
-- The Independent

"The author's real achievement is to capture a universal experience, one ever more common in the age of mass migration: what it means to come home after a long absence...Few books about Africa will find it easier to attract readers far away."
-- The Economist

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