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The Dark Child by Camara Laye
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The Dark Child (1954)

by Camara Laye

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
This was a fascinating memoir of the author's youth growing up in the village of Koroussa, French Guinea. It shows the simple life of a dark child living in the great plain of Guinea. It is a very readable account as his words are rich with sincerity which flows through his language. He wrote this account while attending school in Paris and it is very evident that he was missing his homeland very much. I would recommend this book highly as I found his detailed account of the 'ceremony of the lions' which prepares boys for circumcision extremely worthwhile and a very interesting read. ( )
  eadieburke | Jan 19, 2016 |
The Dark Child Camara Laye
★★★★

This is the autobiographical account of the authors experience growing up in a village in French Guinea. Laye shares his childhood with the reader in an open and frank way, he lets us into his family, into his village and into his way of life. Layes childhood is an interesting mix of spiritual traditions and formal religion mixed together in a way that works and that doesn't appear disjointed.

An almost poetical story of one boy's childhood this is a read that would appeal to those who enjoy honest writing with an insight into other cultures.
( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
Camara Laye tells us about the highlights of his childhood in Upper Guinea and later in the capital of Conakry. In so doing he introduces us to the people and culture of his home country. This is a fascinating account of growing up in a tight knit community with strong familial ties, based on a foundation that combines islamic belief with more shamanistic elements. As he lives mostly in town but also visits his mother's family in a more rural area, we get a broader view on the difference between the two environments. Moving to Conakry and the family of his uncle at age fifteen, he shows us yet another side of the country. Of his stay in Conakry he tells us more about that family than about life there or the city itself, which remain rather out of focus. But the scenes of his native town are vivid and the he completely pulled me into his tale when he dealt with his relations to his parents and the difficult separations and the ambivalent feelings when starting a journey into the unknown, first to Conakry and at the end of the book to France. A lovely book. ( )
  sushicat | Jan 14, 2016 |
The Dark Child by Camara Laye, published 1954
5 stars
This is a good book, a memoir, Camara Laye tells us about his youth in Guinea. He shares with us the culture, family structure, spirituality of his people and his trip towards his own destiny. He wrote this book when he was in his twenties and studying engineering in France. He died in Senegal in 1980. ( )
  Kristelh | Dec 17, 2015 |
No excuses or literary conceit in this review. This is more of a descriptive essay than a memoir, as the author tells us the events of his childhood but avoids offering any insight. The author also witholds description in many places giving as his excuse that he was too young and so did not understand, but one cannot help but notice that most of these instances concern the uses of traditional magic by his family and that, perhaps, he was avoiding shaming them, or himself - devout Mohammedans (his word) that they are.
I found it a frustrating read because it was so clear that the author could have shared more but instead we were privy to little that made the story a particular person's journey, or that an anthropologist could not have told us. ( )
  Darcy-Conroy | Sep 28, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Camara Layeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, ErnestTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirkup, JamesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 080901548X, Paperback)

The Dark Child is a distinct and graceful memoir of Camara Laye's youth in the village of Koroussa, French Guinea. Long regarded Africa's preeminent Francophone novelist, Laye (1928-80) herein marvels over his mother's supernatural powers, his father's distinction as the village goldsmith, and his own passage into manhood, which is marked by animistic beliefs and bloody rituals of primeval origin. Eventually, he must choose between this unique place and the academic success that lures him to distant cities. More than autobiography of one boy, this is the universal story of sacred traditions struggling against the encroachment of a modern world. A passionate and deeply affecting record, The Dark Child is a classic of African literature.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:29 -0400)

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