The “heart-breaking” (New York Times Book Review), rollicking, award-winning novel that has been described as “Oliver Twist in 1970s Africa” (Les Inrockuptibles)
“One of the most compelling books you’ll read in any language this year.” —Rolling Stone
Winner of the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award
Longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize
Shortlisted for the Albertine Prize
Shortlisted for the Aspen Words Literary Prize
Longlisted for the PEN Translation Prize
Greeted with wildly enthusiastic reviews on publication, Alain Mabanckou’s riotous novel begins in an orphanage in 1970s Congo-Brazzaville run by a malicious political stooge who makes the life of our hero, Tokumisa Nzambe po Mose yamoyindo abotami namboka ya Bakoko—his name means “Let us thank God, the black Moses is born on the lands of the ancestors,” but most people just call him Moses—very difficult.
Moses is also terrorized by his two fellow orphans—the twins Songi-Songi and Tala-Tala—but after Moses exacts revenge on them by lacing their food with hot pepper, the twins take Moses under their wing, escape the orphanage, and move to the bustling port town of Pointe-Noire, where they form a gang that survives on petty theft.
What follows is a “pointed” (Los Angeles Times), “vivid and funny” (New York Times), larger-than-life tale that chronicles Moses’s ultimately tragic journey through the Pointe-Noire underworld and the politically repressive reality of Congo-Brazzaville in the 1970s and ’80s.
“Ringing with beautiful poetry,” (Wall Street Journal) Black Moses is a vital new extension of Mabanckou’s cycle of Pointe-Noire novels that stand out as one of the grandest and funniest fictional projects of our time.