📍 Mozambique 🇲🇿
Mozambican writer Mia Couto is one of the most prominent Portuguese language writers of today. After studying medicine and biology, he worked as a journalist and headed several national newspapers and magazines in Mozambique. He has published more than thirty books that have been translated in thirty different countries.
He won the Camões Prize in 2013, the most important literary award in the Portuguese language, and the Neustadt International Prize for Literature (The Prize is a biennial award sponsored by the University of Oklahoma and World Literature Today since 1970, and is one of the few international prizes for which poets, novelists, and playwrights are equally eligible) in 2014. He was shortlisted for his entire body of work for the Man Booker International Prize 2015. In many of his texts, he undertakes to recreate the Portuguese language by infusing it with regional vocabulary and structures from Mozambique, thus producing a new model for African narrative. He lives in Maputo, Mozambique.
Mozambique, a country located in southeastern Africa, gained independence from Portuguese colonial rule in 1975. After only two years following independence, the country descended into a bloody and protracted civil war lasting from 1977 to 1992. This book was first published in 1994, shortly after the 1992 peace agreement and has been translated by Eric M.B. Becker.
The book is a collection of 26 short stories. Though the book has received wide critical acclaim internationally, I completely failed to connect with it. The stories are extremely fable like, many inspired by Mozambican folklore while others oscillate between the real world and an imaginary magical realm. The stories start and end abruptly and the author fails to provide any nuanced significance for each of them. Reading these stories I wondered, if there was a purpose for this kind of pithy yet tedious storytelling. Are Mozambicans only supposed to understand them?
~ JUST A GAY BOY. 😑