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The Rift

1993
Author:

V. Y. Mudimbe
Translated by Marjolijn de Jager

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This work of fiction explores textuality, writing, solitude and death in the context of contemporary African life, and at the same time examines the constitution and materiality of African subjectivity.

This work of fiction explores textuality, writing, solitude and death in the context of contemporary African life, and at the same time examines the constitution and materiality of African subjectivity.

“Offers an intricate, subtle, and richly allusive meditation on a singular, very specifically demarcated, ‘postcolonial condition’: that of the France-educated, masculine (but ambiguously sexualized) African intellectual, Ahmed Nara.” --Neil Lazarus, Brown University

This novel from Zaire poses fascinating questions about the nature of history, the value of language, and the problem of personal identity. At its core is a personal journal written by a young African historian the week before his unexplained death and authenticated by a fellow academic to whom the journal is entrusted. Several threads wind through the historian’s diar

his ongoing research on the Kuba people, sessions with a psychiatrist to understand the past, and relationships with two women, a European and an African. One of the historian’s goals is to ‘decolonize knowledge,’ to shatter stereotypes of Africa perpetuated by Western historians. But he recognizes the treacherous nature of language, wondering if his own words will really represent the Kuba faithfully and recognizing that words can be used as ‘Band-aids’ to hide the misery of reality.” Choice

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Literature

This work of fiction explores textuality, writing, solitude and death in the context of contemporary African life, and at the same time examines the constitution and materiality of African subjectivity.

"Offers an intricate, subtle, and richly allusive meditation on a singular, very specifically demarcated, 'postcolonial condition': that of the France-educated, masculine (but ambiguously sexualized) African intellectual, Ahmed Nara." -Neil Lazarus

Book Default Image

Marjolijn de Jager translates from both French and Dutch, and was also the translator of Marc Augé’s Oblivion (1993). She teaches literary translation at New York University.

Book Default Image

This novel from Zaire poses fascinating questions about the nature of history, the value of language, and the problem of personal identity. At its core is a personal journal written by a young African historian the week before his unexplained death and authenticated by a fellow academic to whom the journal is entrusted. Several threads wind through the historian’s diar

his ongoing research on the Kuba people, sessions with a psychiatrist to understand the past, and relationships with two women, a European and an African. One of the historian’s goals is to ‘decolonize knowledge,’ to shatter stereotypes of Africa perpetuated by Western historians. But he recognizes the treacherous nature of language, wondering if his own words will really represent the Kuba faithfully and recognizing that words can be used as ‘Band-aids’ to hide the misery of reality.” Choice