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In a literary reversal as deadly serious as it is wickedly satiric, this novel by the acclaimed French-speaking African writer Abdourahman A. Waberi turns the fortunes of the world upside down. On this reimagined globe a stream of sorry humanity flows from the West, from the slums of America and the squalor of Europe, to escape poverty and desperation in the prosperous United States of Africa. It is in this world that an African doctor on a humanitarian mission to France adopts a child. Now a young artist, this girl, Malaika, travels to the troubled land of her birth in hope of finding her motherand perhaps something of her lost self. Her search, at times funny and strange, is also deeply poignant, reminding us at every moment of the turns of fate we call truth.
Abdourahman A. Waberi was born in Djibouti in 1965 and has lived in France since 1985. He has published numerous books, articles, and stories. His first collection of short stories, Le Pays Sans Ombre (published in English as The Land without Shadows) won Belgium’s Royal Academy of French Language and Literature Grand Prix. David and Nicole Ball, both independent translators in Northampton, Massachusetts, have published several translations separately, as well as together, including Lascaux: A Work of Memory. David Ball won the Modern Language Association’s prize for literary translation in 1996. Percival Everett, professor of creative writing at the University of California–Riverside, is the author of many novels, including, most recently, The Water Cure.