First Guinea Bissau novel translated into English!
Congratulation to Abdulai Sila on proving that amazing revolutionary writing can make a change in the world.
Having his novel appreciated for the great work that it is, and enabling it now to be understood by far more readers and countries, I wish that this writer’s determination and passion toward writing had opened the gate of others' curiosity to discover more about his country!
With a vision of helping other writers with the same nationality to raise their country to new heights. Sila cooperated with Jethro Soutar to translate his tale of love and emerging political awareness, in a country beginning to challenge Portuguese colonial rule.
The novel reads like an uninterrupted conversation about what the future holds for this nation, seemingly on the verge of liberation.
Here is the full synopsis:
The first novel ever to be translated into English from Guinea Bissau,The Ultimate Tragedy is a tale of love and emerging political awareness in an Africa beginning to challenge Portuguese colonial rule. Ndani leaves her village to seek a better life in the capital, finding work as a maid for a Portuguese family. The mistress of the house, Dona Deolinda, embarks on a mission to save Ndani’s soul through religious teaching, but the master of the house has less righteous intentions.
Ndani is expelled from the house and drifts towards home, where she becomes the wife of a village chief. He has built a mansion and a school to flaunt his power to the local Portuguese administrator, but he abandons Ndani when he finds she’s not a virgin. She eventually finds love with the school’s teacher, but in tumultuous times, making a future with an educated black man involves a series of hurdles. By turns humorous, heartrending and wise,The Ultimate Tragedy is a captivating novel that brings this little-known country to colourful, vivid life.
Nevertheless it is important to know that Sila is a record-breaking novelist. Sila’s first novel, titled Eterna Paixao and published in 1994 was also the first ever novel published in Guinea Bissau!
Now there is a tendency to treat African languages as being somehow more alien than other languages. Therefore, this amazing author used Creole, Fulani and Mandinka and used them in the text with sufficient context where the reader can more or less figure out what it is without an explanation!
This novel brought to people’s memories what the colonial period was like. A tough that they overcame it. Today, they have been having tough times again in this country, but based on the knowledge they have from their colonial history of fighting and resisting, gives them hope that all the trouble is just part of what they are very used to. The most potent weapon of the oppressor is only in peoples minds. Nothing is beyond hope or larger than what is rightful. Sila’s novel gives a platform to those who are often silenced. It is a must read.