Sunday, September 07, 2014

Words Without Borders praises Ondjaki's Granma Nineteen

Over at the online world literature magazine Words Without Borders Amanda Calderon has fallen in love with Ondjaki's charming and graceful Granma Nineteen and the Soviet's Secret:

It is no surprise that this energetic and endearing novel is the work of a writer of such stunning accomplishment as Ondjaki. He is incredibly prolific—the author of twenty books, and winner of over a dozen Portuguese-language literary prizes, including the prestigious José Saramago Prize for Literature in 2013. He is only thirty-six.
Just as the dust whipped up by the Luanda Bay breeze drifts across the neighborhood in a wave, settling on front steps and in chicken coops, getting into everything through windows and eyes, the world of Granma Nineteen is in constant motion. We have only to read the first lines to know this: “The explosion woke up even the birds asleep in the trees and the dozy fish in the sea. Colours came out that had never been seen before: yellow mixed with red pretending to be orange in a bluish green, flares that mimicked the strength of the stars reclining in the sky and a warlike rumbling of the kind made by MiG planes.” Ondjaki is at his best when he is writing the frenetic wonderment of children, even as they contend with the deadly realities of war and political power. The result is ebullient, cinematic, and downright magical.

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