Another New Release: The Ultimate Tragedy by Abdulai Silá (Translated from Portuguese by Jethro Soutar)

by - 08:19

Published by Dedalus Books, and out April 2017, this year will bring us what is said to be 'the first novel to be translated into English from Guinea Bissau'. 

Written by AbdulaiSilá - a Bissau-Guinean engineer and writer, The Ultimate Tragedyis a tale of love and emerging political awareness in a country beginning to challenge Portuguese colonial rule. Here's a synopsis via Dedalus Books

Ndani leaves her village to seek a better life in the capital, finding work as a maid for a Portuguese family. The mistress of the house, Dona Deolinda, embarks on a mission to save Ndani's soul through religious teaching, but the master of the house has less righteous intentions. Ndani is expelled from the house and drifts towards home, where she becomes the wife of a village chief. He has built a mansion and a school to flaunt his power to the local Portuguese administrator, but he abandons Ndani when he finds she's not a virgin. She eventually finds love with the school's teacher, but in tumultuous times, making a future with an educated black man involves a series of hurdles. 
By turns humorous, heartrending and wise, 'The Ultimate Tragedy' is a captivating novel that brings this little-known country to colourful, vivid life.
The Ultimate Tragedy was one of the winners of a 2015 PEN Translates award, and has been translated from Portuguese by Jethro Soutar - a translator of Spanish and Portuguese. Soutar's other translated books includes By Night The Mountain Burns by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel from Equatorial Guinea (published by And Other Stories in 2014), which was shortlisted for the 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. It also received a PEN Award.

The cover has been designed by graphic designer and photographer, Marie Lane; and the cover image (according to Soutar) is by a Portugal-based Bissau-Guinean artist called Cipriano Foncesca.

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