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Synopsis: Written by award-winning African novelist Mariama Ba and translated from the original French, So Long a Letter has been recognized as one of Africa's 100 Best Books of the 20th Century. The brief narrative, written as an extended letter, is a sequence of reminiscences—some wistful, some bitter—recounted by recently widowed Senegalese schoolteacher Ramatoulaye Fall. Addressed to a lifelong friend, Aissatou, it is a record of Ramatoulaye's emotional struggle for survival after her husband betrayed their marriage by taking a second wife. This semi-autobiographical account is a perceptive testimony to the plight of educated and articulate Muslim women. Angered by the traditions that allow polygyny, they inhabit a social milieu dominated by attitudes and values that deny them status equal to men. Ramatoulaye hopes for a world where the best of old customs and new freedom can be combined.

Considered a classic of contemporary African women's literature, So Long a Letter is a must-read for anyone interested in African literature and the passage from colonialism to modernism in a Muslim country.

Winner of the prestigious Noma Award for Publishing in Africa.

Titles of related interest from Waveland Press: Beti (trans. Moore), The Poor Christ of Bomba (ISBN 9781577664185); Emecheta, Kehinde (ISBN 9781577664192); Equiano (ed. Edwards), Equiano's Travels (ISBN 9781577664871); La Guma, In the Fog of the Seasons' End (ISBN 9781478600251); Marechera, The House of Hunger (ISBN 9781478604730); and Oyono (trans. Reed), Houseboy (ISBN 9781577669883).

Review: “This is a beautiful new edition of a timeless classic of African literature. Ba brings the issue of polygamy into sharp, almost familiar focus for readers who might think it bizarre and safely foreign. I am pleased to see this treasure back in print.” Catherine E. Bolten, University of Notre Dame

“I used this novel in my African literature course and it was great. The students researched Senegal and the discussions were lively, enthusiastic, and compelled the quiet students to join in. It was a rewarding experience.” Immaculate Kizza, University of Tennessee

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