Review: Mariama Bâ’s “So Long a Letter”

A Senegalese classic, this one, and one of the very few African novels I’ve read.  It is an eloquent and composed letter from Ramatoulaye, an abandoned wife now widowed, to her oldest friend Aissatou. In it, Ramatoulaye unburdens herself of the grief and woes that have come to pass in her life as an educated Senegalese wife and mother, one of the few at the time of writing (1979). Simultaneously lyrical and controlled, this epistle gives sensitive insight into the life and social mores of Senegal, and this translation from the French is gorgeous. Recommended.

Where it came from: MOD’s Bookshelf
Time and manner of reading: One bed-read and one kitchen-read
Where it went: Home
Reminds me of: —
Who I’d recommend it to:
Culturally and lyrically curious
Also reading: Rabbit #4; How to Read a Poem by Edward Hirsch; Selected Essays by George Orwell; Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks; Picturing Canada by Gail Edwards and Judith Saltman (just the images)

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