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Se of new ones things even like your despair itself I have heard this pain before only then it was multiplied many many times but that may only be because at that time I was not so alone so far apart Maybe there are other lonely voices despairing now I will not be entranced by the voice even if it should swell as it did in the days of hope I will not be entranced since I have seen the destruction of the promises it made But I shall not resist it either I will be like a cork It is so surprising is it not how even the worst happenings of the past acuire a sweetness in the memory Old harsh distresses are now merely pictures and tastes which hurt no like itching scars which can only give pleasure now Strange because when I can think soberly about it all with out pushing any later joys into the deepr pa A masterpiece Truly an extraordinary work full of shit and sadness and sentences of great beauty Proper review to come soon but y all need to get your greedy mitts on this ere book ASAP

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The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born African Writers

St I can remember that things were terrible then When the war was over the soldiers came back to homes broken in their absence and they themselves brought murder in their hearts and gave it to those nearest them I saw it not very clearly because I had no way of understanding it but it frightened me We had gone on marches of victory and I do not think there was anyone mean enough in spirit to ask whether we knew what we were celebrating Whose victory Ours It did not matter We marched and only a dishonest fool will look back on his boyhood and say he knew even then that there was no meaning in any of it It is so funny now to remember that we all thought we were welcoming victory Or perhaps there is nothing funny here at all and it is only that victory itself happens to be the identical twin of defeat The Beautyful Ones are Not Yet Born is a novel set during the last days of the Nkrumah government in Ghana It s about a man resisting corruption uixotically in the view of most of those around him The scathing portrayal of a corrupt society is all the sharper because of the contrast with the optimism that came with independence it s a novel among other things about the loss of hope A kind of Animal Farm of post colonialismIt s a slim book less than 200 pages but it took me uite a long time to read because it reuired focussed attention eventually I took it on a long train journey where there were no distractions It s just densely written with detailed closely observed descriptive passages that are very effective but also with some convoluted sentences that simply do not allow for skimming This is the kind of thingBut along the streets those who can soon learn to recognize in ordinary faces beings whom the spirit has moved but who cannot follow where it beckons so heavy are the small ordinary days of the timeI know it s hardly Finnegans Wake but it s a bit of a speed bump when you re readingIncidentally the cover of the Heinemann edition really seems like a terrible choice for a novel which is dark and spiky and intricate I should know by now don t read too much into the cover design But I think it s unavoidable that it affects your expectations and I was really startled by the mismatch between the cover and the content The Beautyful Ones are Not Yet Born is my book from Ghana for the Read The World challenge I tried to find a short passage to uote to give you a flavour but it doesn t really lend itself to uoting So I ll just say it s sharp bitter evocative sometimes for my taste slightly overwritten but often beautiful

Ayi Kwei Armah à 2 Characters

A railway freight clerk in Ghana attempts to hold out against the pressures that impel him toward corruption in both his family and his country The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born is the novel that catapulted Ayi Kwei Armah into the limelight The novel is generally a satirical attack on the Ghanaian society during Kwame Nkrumah’s regime and the period immediately after independence in the 1960s It is often claimed to rank with Things Fall Apart as one of the high points of post colonial African Literature A uote from Chapter 6 And where is my solid ground these days Let us say just that the cycle from birth to decay has been short Short brief But otherwise not at all unusual And even in the decline into the end there are things that remind the longing mind of old beginnings and hold out the promi Ask me about a writer who is unflinching in his emasculation of an African postcolonial way of life stunted by its mire in corruption and deceit and I ll point to Ayi Armah Why do we waste so much time with sorrow and pity for ourselvesnot so long ago we were helpless messes of soft flesh and unformed bone sueezing through bursting motherholes trailing dung and exhausted blood We could not ask then why it is was necessary for us also to grow So why now should we be shaking our head and wondering bitterly why there are children together with the old why time does not stop when we ourselves have come to stations where we would like to rest It is so like a child to wish all movement to cease In jarring words this intrepid narrator speaks of poverty and despair within a small African village I ve never come across a novel where despair is embodied through such disparaging scenes Hopelessness is incarnate in our narrator the man Yes the man has no name but he has a story A story of immense loneliness and desperation for he is the only one who desires a simple life of earned income Everyone around him wants to smuggle goods and bribe for treasures A world where the rich wants to get richer and the poor well the poor want a life beyond outdoor latrines long non airconditioned bus rides and one room houses Everyone said there was something miserable something unspeakably dishonest about a man who refused to take and to give what everyone around was busy taking and giving something unnatural something very cruel something that was criminal for who but a criminal could ever be left with such a feeling of loneliness To be the odd one out what a state to find one s self This is Armah s first novel which has been added to Heinemann s African Writers Series and I m so glad that I ve had a chance to come across it The novel is seriocomic a satirical attempt at showcasing the irony of Nkrumah s leadership and if you re familiar with Ghana during the Nkrumah years you see why this is ironic indeed It is an attempt to broadcast the voice of Ghana that was usually unheard that of the poor in most cases uneducated village workerThis novel is about the dung of life and so it is not surprising that no words are minced Left hand fingers in their careless journey from a hasty anus sliding all the way up the banister as their owners made the return trip from the lavatory downstairs to the offices above You may be tempted to stray because this character driven narrative has a couple of perspective switches and some brief philosophical meanderings that will at first seem daunting Stick with the man however and you should be fine for he as well as his book addict teacher will tell you the blatant truth If you come near people here they will ask you what about you Where is your house Where have you left your car What do you bring in your hands for the loved ones Nothing Then let us keep uiet and not get close to people People will make you very sad that you do not have a house to make onlookers stumble with looking or a car to make every walker know that a big man and his concubine have just passed Let us keep uiet and watch


10 thoughts on “The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born African Writers

  1. says:

    This shit encrusted tale of corruption and despair belongs to a tradition of post colonial African literature that is unflinchingly critical of national politics Hope was abating disillusionment with Independence was begin

  2. says:

    Ask me about a writer who is unflinching in his emasculation of an African postcolonial way of life stunted by its mire in corruption and deceit and I'll point to Ayi Armah Why do we waste so much time with sorrow and pity for ourselvesnot so long ago we were helpless messes of soft flesh and unformed bone sueezing through bursting motherhol

  3. says:

    I don't even know if I shouldcan rate this book Up until the last 50 or so pages it took a lot of effort to slog through Ayi Kwei Armah set out to take a stand make a political statement and it is evident in every part of the book A lot of similes a lot of hyperbole painful description and LOTS of pontification It is annoying and it makes the

  4. says:

    This book changed my perception of Africa as much as Things Fall Apart did I was startled to realise through these books that I had never imagined every day life for people in Ghana had only thought of Africa through negative news reports and famine relief appeals and had never considered the possibility that A

  5. says:

    So this book is by an American trained Marxist and it about the new Ghana with Nkrumah as president It traces the sad move from idealistic and hopeful begins of a new state to a corrupt and selfish mess It is a book that I as a Westerner identified with but my African students found it harsh and unrealistic It h

  6. says:

    A masterpiece Truly an extraordinary work full of shit and sadness and sentences of great beauty Proper review to come soon but y'all need to get your greedy mitts on this ere book ASAP

  7. says:

    The story of Africa told through a man who refused to bend his values to fit into the system It is always interesting to see how African countries are similar when it comes to politics The era that this book talks about was the most challeng

  8. says:

    The Beautyful Ones are Not Yet Born is a novel set during the last days of the Nkrumah government in Ghana It’s about a man resisting corruption uixotically in the view of most of those around him The scathing portrayal of a corrupt society is all the sharper because of the contrast with the optimism that came with independence; it’s a novel among other things about the loss of hope A kind of Animal Farm of post colonialism

  9. says:

    Very intense and intensely written Also beautifully written I could only absorb about one chapter a day both in content and language Occasionally Armah gets carried away with an elaborate metaphor or description but general

  10. says:

    I did not know what to expect from this one As it turns out it’s uite a good literary book although its tone is