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The Dark Child - The Autobiography os an African Boy
The Dark Child - The Autobiography os an African Boy Author:Camara Laye This is the autobiography of an African boy who was born at Kouroussa, in French Guinea, a country with an old civilization in which the ancient ritualistic society of the Malinke has remained alive. The supernatural was a significant part of Camara Laye's life. Not only did his mother possess the powers of a witch, but his father's hut was oft... more »en visited by a small black snake, the guiding spirit of his race. Yet his family and neighbors are all adherents of Mohammedanism.
Camara Laye's literary skill is such that the reader has no difficulty in grasping the emotions he depicts so vividly: his love for his mother, who has mixed feelings about his success in school because she knows it will end in his departure; another kind of love for Marie, the girl he meets at high school in C onakry, the capital of French Guinea; and his awe of and respect for his father, an accomplished goldsmith. Most compelling of all are the scenes of tribal initiation, when he is terrified by the roaring of what he supposes are lions, and more terrified-though he dare not show it- at the ritual of circumcision.
The Dark Child, first issued in 1954, was written when the author was in his twenties and living in France, where he had been sent by his tribe to study engineering. This autobiography of a boy who loves Africa is written with remarkable dignity and, at the same time, passion. It was translated from the French by James Kirkup and Ernest Jones. As the Haitian novelist, Philippe Thoby-Marcelin, states in his introduction, The Dark Child "has the force of the nostalgia which spurred him to write it to relieve his exile, at a time when he was far from his people."« less