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Segu by Maryse Condé

Segu (1984)

by Maryse Condé

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Ségou (1)

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292554,650 (3.87)5



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Showing 4 of 4
...I think this was the fourth time I've read this book and I still think it is an amazing read. It is one of the few novels I'm aware of that shows us an African society from the inside and succeeds in making it believable. Condé has obviously put in a lot of research into the history, culture and customs of Ségou and the result is a very good historical novel. It's a book that will make the reader a lot more aware of the fact that slave trade, religious fanaticism and colonialism left their scars on many local cultures and have sown the seeds of many of the post-colonial conflicts that still plague the continent. On the other hand it also shows this part of the world as vibrant, culturally rich and in some ways very resilient. I must admit that I knew very little of Mali before I read this book for the first time many years ago and that may have been the type or reader Condé was aiming for. It is a great introduction to a piece of Africa that does not show up in the history curriculum of the average western highschool student. Since that is not likely to change anytime soon, you should probably just go out and read this book.

Flull Random Comments review ( )
  Valashain | Jan 21, 2015 |
A sweeping family epic set in central West Africa in the early 1800s as slavery and Islam bring conflicts and changes to traditional life.

Segu, or Segou, is a town of Bambara people in present-day Mali. Located on the upper reaches of the Niger River, it was the center of its own empire. Around 1800, when this novel begins, it was a relatively prosperous region where nobles used large numbers of slaves to farm the rich river land. Wealthy men had numerous wives and concubines living in their large compounds. Fetish worship, as it was called, is practiced, but as the book progresses, it is increasingly challenged by Islam. Tensions rise between the new religion and family and tribal loyalties. Slave trade with Europeans also rages, even after it is legally abolished. Reading Segu, we are immersed in the conflicts occurring throughout West Africa.
READ MORE: http://wp.me/24OK2
  mdbrady | Sep 13, 2014 |
This is one of my all time favorite books. Fiction excels at letting us feel history. None does it better than Segu.

From Amazon.com:
"The year is 1797, and the kingdom of Segu is flourishing, fed by the wealth of its noblemen and the power of its warriors. The people of Segu, the Bambara, are guided by their griots and priests; their lives are ruled by the elements. But even their soothsayers can only hint at the changes to come, for the battle of the soul of Africa has begun. From the east comes a new religion, Islam, and from the West, the slave trade.
Segu follows the life of Dousika Traore, the king’s most trusted advisor, and his four sons, whose fates embody the forces tearing at the fabric of the nation. There is Tiekoro, who renounces his people’s religion and embraces Islam; Siga, who defends tradition, but becomes a merchant; Naba, who is kidnapped by slave traders; and Malobali, who becomes a mercenary and halfhearted Christian.

Based on actual events, Segu transports the reader to a fascinating time in history, capturing the earthy spirituality, religious fervor, and violent nature of a people and a growing nation trying to cope with jihads, national rivalries, racism, amid the vagaries of commerce." ( )
  TerrisGrimes | Jun 16, 2014 |
This is a big ticket novel of breadth across several generations of a family (from Segu, natch) which tackles just about every experience of the late 18th early 19th century in the kingdom of Segu and points beyond. I had to get used to occasional "teaching" asides, and the fact that although there are many female characters they really are only important insofar as they are the lovers of males and the mothers of males, but it is really quite a gripping and interesting novel and it has a sequel (CHILDREN OF SEGU) that I need to track down.
  booksofcolor | Jul 10, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Maryse Condéprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bray, BarbaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"The bestselling epic novel of family, treachery, rivalry, religious fervour and the turbulent fate of a royal African dynasty. It is 1797 and the African kingdom of Segu, born of blood and violence, is at the height of its power. Yet Dousika Traore, the king's most trusted advisor, feels nothing but dread. Change is coming. From the East, a new religion, Islam. From the West, the slave trade. These forces will tear his country, his village and the lives of his beloved sons apart, in Maryse Cond's glittering epic." --… (more)

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