Cover

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Half Title, Series Page, Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Foreword: Harmony and Liberty or Jazz and Palm Wine

Dominic Thomas

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pp. vii-xvi

Emmanuel Dongala was born in 1941 in the Congo (Brazzaville), a former French colony that achieved independence in 1960. That historic moment coincided with Dongala’s decision to study in the United States as one of the first African recipients of a Ford Foundation scholarship. This decision, which would ultimately shape both his professional and his literary trajectories, ...

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1. The Astonishing and Dialectical Downfall of Comrade Kali Tchikati

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pp. 1-22

One of the things I really like doing when I arrive in a new place is to venture out late in the day, at those inchoate and fugitive hours when the daylight begins to fade and darkness gradually spreads its cloak. Those early evening hours give you a good indication of a city’s secret pulse, of its hopes and fears, a glimpse of all that still hesitates to appear or disappear, ...

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2. A Day in the Life of Augustine Amaya

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pp. 23-30

A violent gust of wind blew her wrapper against her thighs and almost knocked her over. She was forced to set her basket on the ground, rearrange her clothing and tighten her head tie, before grabbing it again and picking up the pace. It was threatening to rain, and at any moment the large drops that come with the end of the rainy season tropical storms would come crashing down. ...

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3. Old Likibi’s Trial

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pp. 31-58

Old Ikounga looked down at the poor dying animal. She was lying on her side, her tongue swollen and lacerated from licking away at the scorched earth in the dried-out valley in search of a drop of water. This was the worst drought he’d ever seen, and nowhere in the litany of folktales or in all the stories the ancestors and elders told was there any mention of such a severe drought ...

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4. The Man

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pp. 59-66

. . . No, this time he wouldn’t get away! After a forty-eight-hour search to track him down, they had been able to retrace his steps, figure out his whereabouts, and locate the village in which he was hiding. And yet, there had been so many false leads! There had been reported sightings up and down the country as if he was somehow able to be in several places at once. ...

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5. The Ceremony

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pp. 67-86

I ’m a modest militant—I would even go so far as to say an exemplary citizen, publicly as well as privately, if that were not a contradiction of the quality I just mentioned a moment ago. The ceremony was scheduled to begin at nine o’clock sharp, but I was there right at seven thirty. If truth be told, it wouldn’t have displeased me had the Secretary General of our one and only trade union noticed ...

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6. Jazz and Palm Wine

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pp. 87-96

They first appeared up in the sky as two luminous spheres spinning on their own axes like out of control night flies. After hovering for a while over a woman working in the field below they eventually landed very carefully close by. When she caught sight of the creatures that climbed out of the vessels, she took off in a panic, leaving behind all her belongings, including her donkey. ...

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7. My Ghost Train

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pp. 97-102

Ah, O Sun! I was dazzled by the sunlight as I came out of the laboratory. A beautiful summer’s day in New York. Trees, green leaves, humidity, the smog sliding up the sides of the glistening skyscrapers and clouding the air under in the grayish sky. I feel the pressing urge to stroll all the way up to Central Park, but I’m short on time. ...

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8. A Love Supreme

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pp. 103-121

When I ran into Splivie on that morning, his hair was disheveled and his eyes were bloodshot, his blank stare seemingly indifferent to everything and everyone around. He looked like he’d just rolled out of bed after a sleepless night and as if he hadn’t bathed in a while. I knew that he’d been drinking again after quitting drugs—or since he’d regenerated himself, ...