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.
Ondjaki was born in Luanda, Angola in 1977. He studied in Lisbon and Portugal. Ondjaki is the author of five novels, three short story collections and various books of poems and stories for children. He has also made a documentary film, May Cherries Grow, about his native city. His books have been translated into eight languages and have earned him important literary prizes in Angola, Portugal and Brazil. In 2008 Ondjaki was awarded the Grinzane for Africa Prize in the category of BestYoung Writer. In 2012, The Guardian named him one of its Top Five African Writers.
"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