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Black Moses: A Novel by Alain Mabanckou

Black Moses: A Novel (2015)

by Alain Mabanckou

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English (4)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (6)
Showing 4 of 4
I've seen comparisons of this book to Oliver Twist, and I get why one might make that comparison, but I'm sorry, Black Moses, you're no Oliver Twist. The book is well-written, and I particularly enjoyed the first half. The plotting isn't terrible (although the second half does fall apart a bit.) However, it suffers from a lack of memorable and interesting characters (and this is where the Oliver Twist comparison really hurts Black Moses, because Dickens has many flaws as a writer but damn if he didn't know how to spin up a memorable character). Black Moses isn't a bad book, but there's nothing here that's going to stick with me, either. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
So I'm starting 2018 with a book I didn't care for. That doesn't bode well, does it? It's an ARC I've been working on for months, and couldn't seem to force myself through, so I finally decided that I'd had enough, and called it finished at about the 50% mark.

The original title of this book is "Little Pepper," referring to the nickname given to Moses after he gets revenge for his best friend with a dose of very hot pepper. He is a little pepper; sharp, hot, taking no shit. Don't really know why the title was changed, and I don't think it did the book any favors since "Black Moses" sets up very different expectations.

It begins in an orphanage in Pointe-Noir in the Congo on the eve of the country's rebranding as The People's Republic of the Congo, and it follows Moses' adventures in this new world. I wish I could say it intrigued me, it didn't. I wish I could say it held my interest, but I'd be lying because I had to read virtually every page at least twice. Maybe this is a failing on my part, but I never connected with the narrative.

When a book makes me mutter "I really don't care." or "I have no idea what I just read." over a period of months (This book should have taken me a couple of hours to read.) I know there's no point in pushing myself. Your mileage may vary. ( )
  Tracy_Rowan | Mar 20, 2018 |
Incredible tale of a boy from an orphanage in Loango who flees to Point-Noire at the age of 13, and experiences a myriad of adventures, trials, and tribulations. Mabanckou weaves an exciting and engaging narrative, full of emotion and some unexpected plot twists, that is sure to leave its mark on the reader. There were a couple of transitions that, for me, could have been a bit smoother, but all-in-all this was a great read. ( )
  kristilabrie | Oct 18, 2017 |
I love books about places and situations far from my limited world and this did not disappoint in that. Moses was an orphan who was left at an orphanage run by a malicious political goof who terrorizes the orphans. Moses eventually is able to escape to the port town of Pointe-Noire, where he is a member of a gang and befriends a group of prostitutes. Set in the 1970s and 80s in the Congo, this is probably a pretty apt description of the corruption that was infused into the culture. Funny in places, sad in others, one does gain an appreciation for Moses whose life is just one set of bad circumstances after another. Eventually Moses loses his mind.

Some reviews read this as a funny book which it is in places; however, the sad life of Moses is not funny. ( )
  maryreinert | Aug 14, 2017 |
Showing 4 of 4
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Opgedragen aan de zwervers van de Côte sauvage die tijdens mijn verblijf in Pointe-Noire enkele grepen hebben gedaan uit hun levensverhaal, en vooral aan 'Prins Peper', die vastbesloten was een fictief personage te worden omdat hij er genoeg van had een personage in het ware leven te zijn...
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Het is allemaal begonnen toen ik als tiener nadacht over hoe ik heette.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 178125673X, Hardcover)

It's 1970, and in the People's Republic of Congo a Marxist-Leninist revolution is ushering in a new age. But over at the orphanage on the outskirts of Pointe-Noire where young Moses has grown up, the revolution has only strengthened the reign of terror of Dieudonne Ngoulmoumako, the institution's corrupt director. So Moses escapes to Pointe-Noire, where he finds a home with a larcenous band of Congolese Merry Men and among the Zairian prostitutes of the Trois-Cents quarter. But the authorities won't leave Moses in peace, and intervene to chase both the Merry Men and the Trois-Cents girls out of town. All this injustice pushes poor Moses over the edge. Could he really be the Robin Hood of the Congo? Or is he just losing his marbles? Black Moses is a larger-than-life comic tale of a young man obsessed with helping the helpless in an unjust world. It is also a vital new extension of Mabanckou's extraordinary, interlinked body of work dedicated to his native Congo, and confirms his status as one of our great storytellers.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 24 Jan 2017 21:18:13 -0500)

"A rollicking new novel described as "Oliver Twist in 1970s Africa" (Les Inrockuptibles) by the finalist for the Man International Booker Prize It's not easy being Tokumisa Nzambe po Mose yamoyindo abotami namboka ya Bakoko. There's that long name of his for a start, which means, "Let us thank God, the black Moses is born on the lands of the ancestors." Most people just call him Moses. Then there's the orphanage where he lives, run by a malicious political stooge, Dieudonne Ngoulmoumako, and where he's terrorized by two fellow orphans-the twins Songi-Songi and Tala-Tala. But after Moses exacts revenge on the twins by lacing their food with hot pepper, the twins take Moses under their wing, escape the orphanage, and move to the bustling port town of Pointe-Noire, where they form a gang that survives on petty theft. What follows is a funny, moving, larger-than-life tale that chronicles Moses's ultimately tragic journey through the Pointe-Noire underworld and the politically repressive world of Congo-Brazzaville in the 1970s and 80s. Mabanckou's vivid portrayal of Moses's mental collapse echoes the work of Hugo, Dickens, and Brian DePalma's Scarface, confirming Mabanckou's status as one of our great storytellers. Black Moses is a vital new extension of his cycle of Pointe-Noire novels that stand out as one of the grandest, funniest, fictional projects of our time"--… (more)

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