Descent into Night

By Edem Awumey
Translated by Phyllis Aronoff & Howard Scott

Descent into Night
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WINNER - Governor General's Literary Award for TranslationTranslated from French by Phyllis Aronoff and Howard Scott. From Goncourt Prize finalist a beautiful and brilliant new novel. With a nod to Samuel Beckett and Bohumil Hrabal, a young dramatist from a West African nation ... Read more


Overview

WINNER - Governor General's Literary Award for TranslationTranslated from French by Phyllis Aronoff and Howard Scott. From Goncourt Prize finalist a beautiful and brilliant new novel. With a nod to Samuel Beckett and Bohumil Hrabal, a young dramatist from a West African nation describes a student protest against a brutal oligarchy and its crushing aftermath. While distributing leaflets with provocative quotations from Beckett, Ito Baraka is taken to a camp where torture, starvation, beatings, and rape are normal. Forced to inform on his friends, whose fates he now fears, and released a broken man, he is enabled to escape to Quebec. His one goal is to tell the story of the protest and pay homage to Koli Lem, a teacher, cellmate, and lover of books, who was blinded by being forced to look at the sun--and is surely a symbol of the nation. Edem Awumey gives us a darkly moving and terrifying novel about fear and play, repression and protest, and the indomitable nature of creativity.

Phyllis Aronoff

Phyllis Aronoff lives in Montreal. She has a Master’s degree in English literature. The Wanderer, her translation of La Québécoite by Régine Robin, won the 1998 Jewish Book Award for fiction. She and Howard Scott were awarded the 2001 Quebec Writers’ Federation Translation Award for The Great Peace of Montreal of 1701. She is currently president of the LTAC.

Reviews

"Artfully constructed, peppered with evocative phrasing, and skillfully translated, this beautiful volume is upsetting, poignant, and at times harrowing. "--Publishers Weekly, starred review"Descent into Night, translated by Phyllis Aronoff and Howard Scott, is a beautifully assured rendering of a text offering many translation challenges. The translators agilely follow the text as it shifts between an ailing Quebec writer's regrets about his life, and his long-ago involvement in a failed West African revolution, which haunts him into the present. This translation skillfully captures the lyricism of the French text. " --Governor General's Literary Prize jury"This is a novel of emotional complexity, of what it means to survive through trauma, and the repercussions of that survival. "--Montreal Review of Books"A poignant, beautifully written account. "--La Presse (trans. from the French)"Grim and tragic, hard and violent, but accomplished by a feverish prose that glows. "--Le Devoir (trans. from the French)

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