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Under frangipaniträdet door Mia Couto
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Under frangipaniträdet (origineel 1996; editie 1997)

door Mia Couto

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1487138,919 (3.4)28
"An original and fresh tale, quite unlike anything else I have read from Africa. I enjoyed it very much."--Doris Lessing "A peculiarily African sensibility . . . a writer of fluid, fragmentary narratives. . . . Remarkable."--New Statesman A police inspector is investigating a strange murder--a case in which all the suspects are eager to claim responsibility for the act. Set in a former Portuguese slave fort, Under the Frangipani combines fable and allegory, dreams and myths with an earthy humor. Part thriller, part an exploration of language itself, Mia Couto's novel surprises and delights. Mia Couto works as an agronomist in Maputo, Mozambique.… (meer)
Lid:larswave
Titel:Under frangipaniträdet
Auteurs:Mia Couto
Info:Ordfront, 1997.
Verzamelingen:Jouw bibliotheek
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Trefwoorden:Geen

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Under the Frangipani door Mia Couto (1996)

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1-5 van 7 worden getoond (volgende | toon alle)
What an interesting book this was!

"...things begin even before they happen."

If you take that sentence to heart and get back to it every now and then when you you read this book, it makes a lot more sense. The mystery's solved and I had a very good time reading it, without being able to give a summary or tell you exactly what it's about. It just feels good :-) ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Apr 27, 2020 |
Ce livre m'a agacée. Il s'ouvre sur une intrigue un peu mystique, puis très vite cette intrigue n'apporte rien à l'histoire principale. Ça donne un côté très artificiel au tout, c'est agaçant. Je me suis demandée tout du long si cette intrigue initiale allait intervenir de manière tangible, ou si j'avais loupé quelque chose ou si je me trompais dans les noms des personnages... L'histoire principale elle-même m'est - entre autres à cause de cela - passée complètement au-dessus de la tête. Et puis soudain l'intrigue initiale remonte à la surface... sans que ça n'apporte grand chose à l'histoire, comme un deus ex machina, mais maladroit et dont on a préparé un peu lourdement la venue... et sans que ça rattrape le fait que je suis majoritairement passée à côté de l'histoire. À se demander s'il y a une face de l'histoire que je n'ai tout simplement pas pigée. Mais du tout du tout. ( )
  elisala | Feb 16, 2018 |
The strength of this book is the author's nearly inexplicable ability to imagine what it might be like to be dead, if that were to mean resting comfortably, and somewhat sadly, underground. Nominally the book is written by a dead man; by itself that wouldn't be remarkable ('The Third Policeman' comes immediately to mind), but here the narrator is content. He tells us all sorts of things that aren't grisly, melodramatic, or macabre: he doesn't dream, but the frangipani tree above him sometimes dreams of him; he has a pet spiny anteater, which burrows down to him and speaks to him in a kind of inner monologue as if it were his dog; he doesn't remember much of his life, but that doesn't often bother him.

Partway through the novel -- which is a mainly unsuccessful series of vignettes framed as a detective story -- I realized why Couto feels so at home with the idea of being forgotten, buried, suspended in a state of more or less permanent amnesia. It's because he has tremendous sympathy with people who live, as he has, in an isolated and impoverished corner of an isolated and impoverished country. Their lives are mainly forgotten, and their sense of themselves is tenuous: they are linguistically and racially mixed, so they do not always have any good way of matching ideas to words (as one of Couto's characters says).

There are some good pages on the hopelessness of feeling a home in such a postcolonial world (pp. 41-46) but that theme is very familiar: what is new is the way these characters are partly happy, mainly reconciled, slightly drifting, virtually isolated, somewhat dreamlike: it's the qualifiers, the lack of absolutes, that make Couto's way of thinking so distinctive. His sense of the postcolonial experience is the diametrical opposite of Frantz Fanon or any number of strident writers (Helon Habila, Chris Abani, Aminatta Forna) and theorists of hybridity and dislocation, and it is also miles from the usual ghost story in which the ghost pines for life, and then falls in love with it. The typical postcolonial narrator is full of passion, anger or joy, intricate introspection. The typical ghost has no life until it is reborn, and then everything happens in technicolor. This ghost likes his six days above ground, but in the end he is just as content in the earth, feeling vaguely uncertain about what he has forgotten, vaguely content, vaguely forgotten.

What other book makes it attractive to think of lying underground, with most memories gone, with no sense of smell, no light or color, and very little sound? What other book shows the coincidence between that state and life in a poor community? ( )
2 stem JimElkins | Dec 31, 2009 |
A short book of mystery surrounding the death of a man in Mozambique. The inspector coming down from the city to solve it is confronted by various suspects confessing to the crime.

Thought-provoking, a look at post-colonial Mozambique, the past that still influences the present. ( )
  soffitta1 | Dec 19, 2009 |
This 150 page book is narrated by a spirit of a dead laborer buried on the site of a colonial fort in Mozambique. In a fantastical and almost lyrical style, it tells the story of an overly innocent police detective who is investigating a recent murder at the fort. The fort has been turned into an old-folks home, and many of the suspects are a mixed bag of interesting elderly all too ready to confess to the crime.

The book is unique in some ways. The dialogue reminds of Waiting for Godot in that it is seemingly simple, yet becomes contorted, devilish, fast and often leading nowhere. The author pulls this off, and like Beckett, leaves the reader with a sense of suspense for what will happen next when the all things point to absolutely little or nothing happening next. So mix Waiting for Godot with Agatha Christie, set it in Mozambique written by an African, add an anteater and a flowering tree, and you'll have this book. ( )
  shawnd | May 4, 2009 |
1-5 van 7 worden getoond (volgende | toon alle)
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"An original and fresh tale, quite unlike anything else I have read from Africa. I enjoyed it very much."--Doris Lessing "A peculiarily African sensibility . . . a writer of fluid, fragmentary narratives. . . . Remarkable."--New Statesman A police inspector is investigating a strange murder--a case in which all the suspects are eager to claim responsibility for the act. Set in a former Portuguese slave fort, Under the Frangipani combines fable and allegory, dreams and myths with an earthy humor. Part thriller, part an exploration of language itself, Mia Couto's novel surprises and delights. Mia Couto works as an agronomist in Maputo, Mozambique.

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