Under African Skies: Modern African Stories

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9780374525507: Under African Skies: Modern African Stories

Spanning a wide geographical range, this collection features many of the now prominent first generation of African writers and draws attention to a new generation of writers. Powerful, intriguing and essentially non-Western, these stories will be welcome by an audience truly ready for multicultural voices.

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African writers have long faced difficulties unimaginable in the West. The most obvious obstacle is the high rate of illiteracy in many African nations. Then there is the low standard of living that renders books a luxury, even among those who can read them. Finally, there is the widespread political oppression that has disfigured the continent from north to south and east to west. Despite these problems, African literature has flowered over the past half-century as Under African Skies amply proves. In this fine collection of fiction, interested readers can sample sub-Saharan Africa's finest writers. Some names may be unfamiliar to non-African readers; others will be familiar: Ben Okri, whose novel, The Famished Road won the 1991 Booker Prize; Chinua Achebe, whose 1958 novel Things Fall Apart became one of the most widely read novels by an African author; Ken Saro-Wiwa, whose execution in Nigeria in 1995 sent shock waves around the world. The collection includes anglophone, francophone, and Arabic writers and spans the continent from Senegal to South Africa. Stories range in subject matter from the supernatural (Amos Tutuola's "The Complete Gentleman") to the social and political (Es'kia Mphahlele's "Mrs. Plum), and each selection is preceded by a short biography of the author and a brief discussion of the themes and political and social context for each story. --Margaret Prior

About the Author:

Charles R. Larson pioneered courses in African, African-American, and Third World literature. The author of numerous critical volumes, including The Emergence of African Fiction, he teaches at American University in Washington D.C.

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