Ahmadou Kourouma's remarkable novel is narrated by Bingo, a West African sora - storyteller and king's fool. Over the course of five nights he tells the life story of Koyaga, President and Dictator of the Gulf Coast. Orphaned at the age of seven, Koyaga grows up to be a terrible hunter; he fights mythical beasts, and is a shape-shifter, capable of changing himself into beasts and birds. He fights in the French colonial armies, in Vietnam and Algeria, but on his return he mounts a coup and becomes ruler and dictator of the Gulf Coast. For thirty years he runs a corrupt but 'clean' state, surviving repeated assassination attempts and gaining support and investment from abroad. But when the 'First World' decides it no longer want to support dictatorships and call for democracy, he needs another ruse to maintain himself in power... Part magic, part history, part savage satire, Waiting for the Wild Beasts to Vote is nothing less than a history of post-colonial Africa itself.
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Ahmadou Kourouma was born in 1927 in the small town of Boundiali in the Ivory Coast. As a young man he fought in the French colonial army in Indochina and studied science in France. On returning to the Ivory Coast he worked in insurance, but having fallen foul of the regime was jailed for a number of months and subsequently went into exile. He returned for four years in the early 1970s before leaving the country once more, living in Togo and Cameroon until 1993, when he returned finally to the Ivory Coast. He wrote plays and four novels and was the winner of the Prix Renaudot, the Prix Inter and the Prix Goncourt des Lyceens. He died in 2003.Review:
"This is a tour de force - original, irreverent, brutal, funny, poetic - in which history and myth are brilliantly evoked" -- Margaret Busby * Independent * "A brilliant, often hilarious, political satire" * Daily Telegraph * "A thoroughgoing indictment of the African way of leadership" * Guardian * "Witty and wholly authentic chronicle of black African atrocity... Spellbinding" * Spectator * "One of the most powerful, funniest and richest novels written in French this decade" * Le Nouvel Observateur *
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