By Neil McEwan (auth.)
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Extra resources for Africa and the Novel
But no reader would think the priest 'effete' for wearing the cloth, especially not today. Even if we disapprove of the sugar lumps - and Father Gilbert shares his dinner with Toundi when the boy first calls on him - one priest's error does not in itself reflect on spirituality in the Roman Church. Those who dislike the Church may be pleased, and the faithful pained by this interpretation, but the passage remains a realistic picture of a commonplace priest and a normal boy. Toundi is further intrigued by the man's hair which looks like a maize-cob beard; no satire seems intended there.
An ogbanje is 'a child who repeatedly dies and returns to its mother to be reborn'. Ulz' is a dye for patterning women's bodies. 'flo' is 'the village green'. Some English words belong to Africa: 'yam', 'matchet', 'palm-wine', 'medicine-man'. Others are coinages: Evil Forest (both a place and a spirit), 'market week' for a unit of four days. Certain expressions translate Ibo literally: the masqueraders (egwugwu) who impersonate ancestral spirits address humans in the form 'body of .. ' followed by the name.
Toundi is amused by the meeting of two fine women, Kalisia refusing to appear submissive, Madame in a suppressed rage at the girl's dumb insolence. As tu deja ete femme de chambre, demanda-t-elle a Kalisia. Ououououiii ... repondit Kalisia avec un sourire. Ou c;a? La-bas ... vers lamer - repondit Kalisia en tendant le bras vers l'ouest, du cote de lamer. Je n'en pouvais plus. Je me mordis les levres. Kalisia avait une conception particuliere de son metier. J'intervins et expliquai a Madame qu'il fallait lui poser la question autrement.
Africa and the Novel by Neil McEwan (auth.)