Black Moses

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Purple, Yellow, and/or Green Book Covers

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. In honour of Mardis Gras today, this week’s theme is to share book covers that are purple, yellow, green or a combination of the three. Turns out I don’t have many purple books but yellow and green ones are more common on my shelves.

Allah is Not Obliged by Ahmadou Kourouma
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
La Bastarda by Trifonia Melibea Obono
To Best the Boys by Mary Weber
Thirteen Months of Sunrise by Rania Mamoun

Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin
Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn
Trout, Belly Up by Rodrigo Fuentes
The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
Black Moses by Alain Mabanckou

Are there some really obvious purple, green or yellow books that I’ve completely forgotten about?

READ THE WORLD – Republic of the Congo: Black Moses by Alain Mabanckou

It’s 1970, and in the People’s Republic of Congo, a Marxist-Leninist revolution is heralding a new age. But in the orphanage where Moses has grown up, they have terror and corruption in the form of the orphanage’s director. When Moses makes his escape, he finds a new home in busy Pointe-Noire with petty thieves and Z airian prostitutes. His new life is thrown into chaos when he authorities want to remove the city’s underbelly, and as they do so, Moses starts to lose grip on reality.

Black Moses is a captivating and well-written read. The language used paints a vivid picture of Moses and his life, growing up from child orphan to teenage thief and to an adult who has his own family unit. The interesting thing is that Moses’ life is so often shaped by political turmoil but it’s something that neither he nor the book really comments on, events happen and sometimes Moses doesn’t even really notice them.

There are a lot of references to various political leaders and the repressive politics of the Congo, having an understanding of that may have made the book more enjoyable, but it was still an accessible read. It has a lot of themes you can connect to, regardless of your knowledge of what life was like in 1970s Congo. There’s themes of loss, family, friendship and being forced to grow up fast.

The story is a quick read and there’s many funny moments. Whether that’s the situations Moses finds himself in, especially his antics in the orphanage, or through the dialogue between characters. The dialogue is quick, sharp and witty and is a great indicator as to what these characters and like and what they value.

Black Moses is an enjoyable read. At just under 200 pages the story speeds along as you follow Moses through his childhood to adulthood, leaning more about him and those he loves and loses along the way. 4/5.