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Why this linguistic masterpiece on slavery should be your next read

by Andrew Blackman

Let’s face it: The literary world is full of hyperbolic comparisons, most of which don’t bear too much scrutiny. But Slave Old Man by Patrick Chamoiseau is a rare exception.

When you read in the blurb that Milan Kundera described the author as the “heir of Joyce and Kafka,” you could be forgiven a little eye-rolling. But as you work your way through this novel about an old man escaping a slave plantation on the French Caribbean island of Martinique, you begin to understand what Kundera meant. Like Joyce, Chamoiseau reconfigures language to suit his own purposes, seamlessly melding the literary with the colloquial. Like Kafka, he creates a world in which the absurd and the grotesque seem real, in which dreams and nightmares coalesce.

Please continue reading on the OZY website May 22, 2018.




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