(translated by Anna Moschovakis)
“Until a man is dead, he is not yet done being created.”
This is an extraordinary read: incantatory, visceral, bloody, poetic, sensual, wise, harrowing and short.
The story of two young Senegalese men who sign up to fight in the trenches of World War I, for the French.
It starts with the madness and gore of war; the damage done to the fighters, especially the psychological; before drifting into pre-war memories, via the ministrations of a doctor – presumably some sort of therapy – until we arrive back at a first love and a history of the people, the villagers where they came from.
The language loops in repeated refrains that shift in their meaning and intent, what they show and what they hide, each time we return to them. The effect is hypnotic.
I fully understand how this novel has won prizes.
“I am the shadow that devours rocks.”