So it is tempting, when reviewing the late Ahmadou Kourouma's epic 'Waiting For The Wild Beasts To Vote' to seek to draw some kind of parallel: re-imagine a blend of Vargas Llosa's twin totems, 'Feast Of The Goat' and 'War Of The End Of The World' in post-colonial Africa, and you get part of the picture. Upon gaining power, Koyaga is courted by other dictators from the continent who are thinly disguised versions of true-life despotic leaders: Kourouma said he was particularly influenced by the reign of Togo's Etienne Eyadema, who, like Koyaga, emerged as the only survivor of a plane crash which further served to mythologize his rule. In Africa, we trust our leaders.' If it is a tale of ruthless exploitation it is also a savage indictment of the abuse of both colonial and neo-colonial power: Kourouma chronicles the cynical retreat of the French armies, but not their influence; and how the emerging dictators ruthlessly exploited Cold War tensions to achieve validation for their reigns from western powers terrified by the spread of communism - the one-time puppet-masters turned to puppets.
passons) est un livre impressionnant, d'autant que j'ai eu la chance quasi-miraculeuse de le lire en parallèle avec La Morte d'Arthur de Malory, ce qui m'a permis de me rendre compte de l'incroyable travail d'adaptation de la chanson de geste dans un contexte moderne non-occidental.
There is a point in Ahmadou Kouroumas Waiting for the Wild Beasts to Vote when the first elected President of the newly-independent Republique du Golfe is attempting to resist the coup that will soon cost him his position and his life. In Waiting for the Wild Beasts to Vote, there are not two, but three voices that complicate the narrative.
This novel had a tinge of 'Emperor's New Clothes' to it: the style was impeccable, but there wasn't enough underneath to sustain the look, and by the end I was wondering why it had enchanted me for so long. The plot seemed incredibly uneven, and I felt that the author did himself a disservice by stretching the novel beyond its natural length. Even on a hyena's anus there are clean patches. This novel is not a hyena's anus, and there are definitely a few clean patches.
The narrator is an African storyteller, I felt like I was sitting by the fire listening to this man weave this beautiful story.
At the same time, while tracing the fascinating story of Koyaga, we are provided with quite a different viewpoint on European/American wars: Vietnam, Algeria, the World Wars, the Cold War. I highly recommend Waiting for the Vote of the Wild Animals to those who enjoy an adventurous tale with roots nourished by the waters of truth.
Determined to speak out against the betrayal of legitimate African aspirations at the dawn of independence, Kourouma was drawn into an experiment in fiction, his first novel, Les soleils des indépendances (The Suns of Independence, 1970). In France, each of Ahmadou Kourouma's novels has been greeted with great acclaim, sold exceptionally well, and been showered with prizes including Prix Renaudot in year 2000 and The Prix Goncourt des Lycéens for Allah n'est pas obligé . At the time of his death, he was working on a sequel to Allah n'est pas obligé, entitled Quand on refuse on dit non (translated roughly as When One Disagrees, One Says No), in which the protagonist of the first novel, a child soldier, is demobilized and returns to his home in Côte d'Ivoire, in which a new regional conflict has arisen.