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Fiction Literary

Granma Nineteen and the Soviet's Secret

by (author) Ondjaki

translated by Stephen Henighan

Initial publish date
Apr 2014
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2014
    List Price

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One of Africa39 's Top Writers Under 40

WINNER of the EUR25,000 José Saramago Literary Prize

"Ondjaki's voice recalls Luandino Vieira in its boundless energy."- The Times Literary Supplement

By the beaches of Luanda, the Russians are building a grand mausoleum to honor the remains of the Comrade President. Granmas are whispering: houses, they say, will be dexploded, and everyone will have to leave. Can the children of Luanda steal the Russians' dynamite, decipher Comrade Gudafterov's letter, and save their homes? A charming comingofage novel from the winner of the Grinzane Prize.

About the authors

The 30-year-old author has published nine books, which have been translated from the original Portuguese into French, German, Spanish, and Italian. Published simultaneously with another Ondjaki novel, The Whistler, which is appearing in the U.K., Good Morning Comrades marks the author `s first appearance in English. Ondjaki lives in Luanda, Angola.

Ondjaki's profile page

Stephen Henighan is the author of four books of fiction, including the novel The Places Where Names Vanish (Thistledown 1998) and the short story collection North of Tourism (Cormorant 1999), which was selected as a `What's New What's Hot` title by His short fiction has been published in more than thirty journals and anthologies in Canada, Great Britain and the United States, and has been taught in university courses in Canada, the U.S. and France.

Henighan's literary journalism has appeared in The Times Literary Supplement, the Globe and Mail, the Montreal Gazette, the Ottawa Citizen and many other publications. He has published scholarly articles on literature in major international journals such as The Modern Language Review, Comparative Literature Studies and the Bulletin of Hispanic Studies.

Lecturer in Spanish at University College, Oxford and Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London, Stephen Henighan has also taught English as a Second Language in Colombia and Moldova, and Creative Writing at Concordia University, the Maritime Writers` Workshop and the University of Guelph. He currently teaches Spanish-American literature and culture in the School of Languages and Literatures at the University of Guelph.

Stephen Henighan's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"This often comic collection of short stories focuses on working class Canadian characters whose sexuality is often fluid." - GLBTRT, American Library Association

"He goes by one, name, Cher-style, and his name is Ondjaki ... over the last ten years he's become a phenom in Lusophone (that is, Portuguese-speaking) world literature." - Slate 's Culture GabFest

"Ondjaki delivers playful magical realism with delightful defiance." - The Barnes & Noble Review

"A devilishly simple-yet-sturdy tale of childhood and revolution ... Ondjaki's writing, full of humanity, vivacity, and character, is a whimsical breath of fresh air ... His is a voice the entire world should have the pleasure to experience." - Numéro Cinq

"Angolan author Ondjaki has found an appropriate balance between knowing and not-knowing, sweetness and cruelty with his young narrator ... In language laced with Cuban Spanish and Russian-accented English, the story is informed by its political context but still manages to evoke that magical form of thinking that children in particular possess." - The Globe and Mail

"As with Ondjaki's other novels-including Bom dis camaradas (2001; Good Morning Comrades) and Os Transparentes (2012)-this is a strangely deceptive read. Although the narrative often feels rather whimsical, Angola's long history of colonialism and conflict, its various foreign allies and enemies, and the extraordinary suffering of its population, are menacingly present ... a brave andhighly political work." - Lara Pawson, Times Literary Supplement

"Remarkable ... at once a coming-of-age novel, rousing adventure, and lyrical experiment ... It is no surprise that this energetic and endearing novel is the work of a writer of such stunning accomplishment as Ondjaki, at his best when he is writing the frenetic wonderment of children, even as they contend with the deadly realities of war and political power. The result is ebullient, cinematic, and downright magical." - Words Without Borders

Other titles by Ondjaki

Other titles by Stephen Henighan