The Tears of the Black Man

The Tears of the Black Man

Alain Mabanckou, translated by Dominic Thomas
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 07/11/2018
ISBN: 978-0-253-03584-4
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In The Tears of the Black Man, award-winning author Alain Mabanckou explores what it means to be black in the world today. Mabanckou confronts the long and entangled history of Africa, France, and the United States as it has been shaped by slavery, colonialism, and their legacy today. Without ignoring the injustices and prejudice still facing blacks, he distances himself from resentment and victimhood, arguing that focusing too intensely on the crimes of the past is limiting. Instead, it is time to ask: Now what? Embracing the challenges faced by ethnic minority communities today, The Tears of the Black Man looks to the future, choosing to believe that the history of Africa has yet to be written and seeking a path toward affirmation and reconciliation.

Author Bio

Alain Mabanckou is the award-winning author of Black Moses, The Lights of Pointe-Noire, African Psycho, Blue White Red, and many other books. He is regarded as Francophone Africa's leading voice, novelist, poet, and essayist and has received numerous literary prizes, including finalist for the Man Booker International Prize, the Grand Prix Littéraire de l’Afrique noire, and the Grand Prix de Littérature Henri Gal from the Académie Française for his life’s work. Mabanckou currently lives in Los Angeles, where he teaches literature at UCLA.

Dominic Thomas is the translator of Jazz and Palm Wine, Harvest of Skulls, and The Shameful State and the author or editor of many books, including Africa and France: Postcolonial Cultures, Migration, and Racism. He is Madeleine L. Letessier Professor of French and Francophone Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.


    "Mabanckou’s challenging perspective on African identity today is as enlightening as it is provocative."”
     — Publishers Weekly

    “Africa's Samuel Beckett ... one of the continent's greatest living writers”
     — Guardian

    “In this slender but intellectually dense collection of 12 essays, Franco-Congolese novelist Mabanckou (Black Moses) reveals and reshapes notions of black identity, arguing that in today’s global community, 'identity goes far beyond notions of territory or blood.' . . . Mabanckou’s challenging perspective on African identity today is as enlightening as it is provocative. ”
     — Publishers Weekly

    “Africans, Mr. Mabanckou is asking us to wake up from such dreams and do something that matters in the present rather than live in the past. It is not helping us in the least. Also, he is asking us, for God’s sake, to stop blaming everything on the white man and acknowledge our share of responsibilities.”
     — Ndeye Sene Mbaye, author of 'Under the Neem Tree'

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    Table of Contents

    1. The "Black" Man’s Tears (Pascal Bruckner)

    2. A Negro in Paris (Bernard Dadié)

    3. The Spirit of the Laws (Montesquieu)

    4. Murderous Identities (Amin Maalouf)

    5. Road to Europe (Ferdinand Oyono)

    6. How Can One be Persian? (Montesquieu)

    7. The Foreign Student (Philippe Labro)

    8. Bound to Violence (Yambo Ouologuem)

    9. The Identity Card (Jean-Marc Adiaffi)

    10. Literature of the Stomach (Julien Gracq)

    11. Phantom Africa (Michel Leiris)

    12. The Suns of Independence (Ahmadou Kourouma)