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Mariama Bâ (1929–1981)

Author of So Long a Letter

4+ Works 1,428 Members 47 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

The promising literary career of Mariama Ba ended with her death in 1981 at the age of 52, just before the publication of her second novel, Le Chant Ecarlate (The Scarlet Song), a poetic drama of a love affair between a Senegalese student and the daughter of a French diplomat. Like the works of show more many other feminist African women writers, Ba's writing challenges many prevalent stereotypes that reinforce the African woman's acceptance of her "place" in society. Her first novel, So Long a Letter (1979), which revealed her clarity of vision and persuasive rhetoric, is written in an epistolary style. The long letter from one female friend to another is a deeply moving account of a Muslim woman's innermost feelings and emotional survival following her husband's decision to take a second, and much younger, wife. The novel has been translated into more than 15 languages and has received international acclaim. In 1980 Mariama Ba received the Noma Award for the best novel published in Africa. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Works by Mariama Bâ

So Long a Letter (1981) 1,308 copies
Scarlet Song (1981) 118 copies
Fiabe orientali (2012) 1 copy

Associated Works

Tagged

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Bâ, Mariama
Birthdate
1929-04-17
Date of death
1981-08-17
Gender
female
Nationality
Senegal
Birthplace
Dakar, Senegal
Place of death
Dakar, Senegal
Places of residence
Dakar, Senegal
Education
Ecole Normale de Rufisque
Occupations
primary school teacher
school inspector
Awards and honors
Noma Prize (1980, Un Si Longue Lettre)

Members

Reviews

So Long a Letter is an epistolary novel and semiautobiographical. It is a series of letters by Ramatoulaye Fall to her lifelong friend, Aissatou. Both women are betrayed by their husbands, who take second wives, but they respond in very different ways. This is a gentle novel, not forceful like Emecheta's The Joys of Motherhood or as anti-Colonial as Nervous Conditions. Instead the reader is brought into Ramatoulaye's personal space as though these intimate letters are addressed to us, and we are invited to understand her perspective even if, like Aissatou, we would have chosen to act differently. I very much enjoyed this short novel and wish that Bâ had been able to continue writing (she died at age 52, shortly after her second work was published). So Long a Letter won the Noma Award for best novel published in Africa in 1980.… (more)
 
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labfs39 | 42 other reviews | Dec 31, 2023 |
 
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mmcrawford | 42 other reviews | Dec 5, 2023 |
Mariama Ba's epistolary novel of Ramatoulaye's correspondence with her friend Aissatou offers a modern perspective on being a wife and mother in Senegalese society. The women in this story see polygamy as a plague, allowing their husbands the freedom to rip out the roots of their domestic life on a whim. Ramatoulaye is also deeply concerned with raising her daughters to be educated and independent. Throughout, she faces the pitfalls of being a single mother in a fairly conservative society and facing the reproval of her community.… (more)
 
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jonbrammer | 42 other reviews | Jul 1, 2023 |
Reason Read: TBR takedown 1001
This is a work of feminism by Senegalese author. I enjoyed reading this story of a woman who is in the period of mourning following the death of her husband. This is a story of a woman who’s husband had taken a younger wife. It explores what this meant to have a cowife. It also explores what it is like to be a part of a husband’s family. In her writing, or journal, she writes to her friend whose husband also took a second younger wife. That woman chose to divorce. Both women are very strong women who live up to their own standards. Many good thoughts in this book. Recommended.… (more)
 
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Kristelh | 42 other reviews | Dec 9, 2022 |

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Statistics

Works
4
Also by
2
Members
1,428
Popularity
#18,017
Rating
3.8
Reviews
47
ISBNs
52
Languages
13
Favorited
1

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