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Blue White Red

A Novel

Alain Mabanckou. Translated by Alison Dundy

Publication Year: 2013

This tale of wild adventure reveals the dashed hopes of Africans living between worlds. When Moki returns to his village from France wearing designer clothes and affecting all the manners of a Frenchman, Massala-Massala, who lives the life of a humble peanut farmer after giving up his studies, begins to dream of following in Moki’s footsteps. Together, the two take wing for Paris, where Massala-Massala finds himself a part of an underworld of out-of-work undocumented immigrants. After a botched attempt to sell metro passes purchased with a stolen checkbook, he winds up in jail and is deported. Blue White Red is a novel of postcolonial Africa where young people born into poverty dream of making it big in the cities of their former colonial masters. Alain Mabanckou's searing commentary on the lives of Africans in France is cut with the parody of African villagers who boast of a son in the country of Digol.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: Global African Voices


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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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pp. 4-4


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pp. 5-7


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pp. vii-9

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Translator’s Introduction

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pp. ix-x

Alain Mabanckou’s writing is like a Chinese line drawing. His economy of words is a brushstroke that reveals a subject’s inner and outward character and an aching longing for place. Moki is a village hero in Blue White Red because he becomes a “Parisian,” the title conferred on those who “make it” in Paris. His presence there transforms a village father, who now holds forth in the proper French French of Guy de Maupassant...

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African Migration and African Dandys

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pp. xi-xviii

Alain Mabanckou was born in 1966 in the city of Pointe-Noire in the Republic of Congo. After completing college in the Congo, he studied law in Paris and worked in the field of corporate law. Eventually he abandoned the legal profession and moved to the United States, where he is a professor of French and Francophone studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)...

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Blue White Red-Opening

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pp. 1-14

I’ll manage to get myself out of this.
I don’t know which side the sun rises from or sets anymore. Who will hear my complaints? I’ve completely lost my bearings here. My universe is limited to this isolation I’ve grown accustomed to. Could I have behaved differently? I ended up building a space deep in my heart that isn’t enough for me. I follow deserted paths. I pass through ghost towns. I hear my...

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Part One: The Country

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pp. 15-78

In the beginning, there was the name. A humdrum name. A two-syllable name: Moki . . .
At the beginning, there was that name.
Moki is standing in front of me. I see him again. He’s talking to me. He is giving me instructions. He tells me to take care of the rest with Préfet. Don’t ask him any questions. Just do what he asks me to do. Moki is there, his gaze turned upward...

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Part Two: Paris

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pp. 79-138

I must remember those days.
It’s a must.
I mustn’t let myself be distracted by a single dark cloud of forgetfulness. Everything flows in the slowness of memory. The past is not just a worn-out shadow that walks behind us. It can get ahead of us, precede us, bifurcate, take another path and get lost somewhere. We must find it, lift it on our shoulders...

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pp. 139-148

The light dazzled my eyes.
The door is open.
The two silhouettes are in front of me. One tall and one short. A voice asks me to get up and to go into the next room to wash up.
“The charter leaves in exactly three hours, get a move on!”
The charter...


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pp. 168-168

E-ISBN-13: 9780253007940
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253007919

Page Count: 168
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Global African Voices
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OCLC Number: 828247128
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Blue White Red