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Our Reading Group meets on the last Wednesday of each month to discuss a different novel from around the globe, charting waters new and exciting. So do join our voyage upon the high-seas of literature; to Europe, Africa, Asia, and beyond!
Our first 2017 stop on our global tour of literature is Broken Glass, a brilliantly funny political satire by Alain Mabanckou.
The history of Credit Gone West, a squalid Congolese bar, is related by one of its most loyal customers, Broken Glass, who has been commissioned by its owner to set down an account of the characters who frequent it. Broken Glass himself is a disgraced alcoholic school teacher with a love of French language and literature which he has largely failed to communicate to his pupils but which he displays in the pages of his notebook. The notebook is also a farewell to the bar and to his fellow drinkers. After writing the final words, Broken Glass will go down to the River Tchinouka and throw himself into its murky waters, where his lamented mother also drowned.
Broken Glass is a Congolese riff on European classics from the most notable Francophone African writer of his generation. It was a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize 2015; as one Guardian reviewer put it “Broken Glass is a comic romp that releases Mabanckou’s sense of humour… Although its cultural and intertextual musings could fuel innumerable doctorates, the real meat of Broken Glass is its comic brio, and Mabanckou’s jokes work the whole spectrum of humour”.