The Shameful State

The Shameful State

Sony Tansi, Alain Mabanckou, Dominic Thomas
Distribution: World
Publication date: 01/03/2016
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-01925-7
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Set in a fictitious African nation, this novel by the distinguished writer Sony Labou Tansi takes aim at the corruption, degeneracy, violence, and repression of political life in Africa. At the heart of The Shameful State is the story of Colonel Martillimi Lopez, the nation’s president, whose eccentricity and whims epitomize the "shameful situation in which humanity has elected to live." Lopez stages a series of grotesque and barbaric events while his nation falls apart. Unable to resist the dictator’s will, his desperate citizens are left with nothing but humiliation. The evocation of this deranged world is a showcase for the linguistic and stylistic inventiveness that are the hallmark of Sony Labou Tansi’s work.

This first English translation by Dominic Thomas includes a foreword by Congolese writer Alain Mabanckou that contextualizes the novel’s importance in literary history and the significance of Sony Labou Tansi for future generations of writers.

Author Bio

Sony Labou Tansi (1947–1995) was a Congolese novelist, playwright, and poet whose groundbreaking work transformed postcolonial francophone African literature. He is author of Life and a Half (IUP, 2011).

Dominic Thomas is Madeleine L. Letessier Chair in French and Francophone Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Alain Mabanckou is Professor of French and Francophone Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and the author of several prizewinning novels. He is author of Blue White Red (IUP, 2013).

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