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The Laughing Cry: An African Cock and Bull Story Hardcover – April, 1987


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Readers Intl; First Edition edition (April 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0930523326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0930523329
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,073,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The author, a former prime minister of Congo-Brazzaville (now the People's Republic of the Congo) who works for UNESCO in Paris, offers a seamless blend of lyric sensuality and finely honed political satire. The narrator of this tale, known only as "Maitre," lives in the capital city of a fictional African country. After a coup d'etat, Daddy, the thug who becomes president, chooses Maitre to become the maitre d'hotel of the presidential palace. However, Maitre is a political innocent who would rather be left alone to carry on his adulterous dalliances, most notably with the fiery Soukali. Still, he is at the center of political action in the country, and he chronicles the monomaniacal leader's "reforms" and the subsequent degeneration of the country. In the end, Maitre's affairs of the heart prove to be both his undoing and his salvation: because Soukali phones him from her job at the Bulgarian embassy, he is denounced as a communist plotter; but he is given safe passage into exile by Daddy's wife, who takes fierce pleasure in cuckolding her husband with the very willing narrator. This superb book, done in fluent translation, should focus much-deserved attention on an author who is virtually unknown in the United States.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation)

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By Vakunta on November 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
Henri Lopès' novel is a masterpiece in every sense of the word but the element that captures the reader's attention the most is his style of writing.Lopès' style in LAUGHING CRY:AN AFRICAN COCK AND BULL STORY,or Pleurer-Rire in French(1982) comes close to that of Ahmadou Kourouma in Les Soleils des Indépendances(1970).Like Kourouma,Lopès translates traditional forms of speech into the French language. For example, the Maître, the narrator-actor of the story, conserves a rhythm which is punctuated by exclamatory phrases and expressions that introduce the story: "Truly, I say this to you..."((58),"At that time"(61). By borrowing from oral discourse,Lopès achieves the kind of symbiotic relationship that exists between storyteller and audience in traditional storytelling. This relationship is necessary for the successful realization of oral performance. The need to communicate directly with the reader comes across very clearly in LAUGHING CRY where the writer
introduces an imaginary reader: "So go on, turn the page!"(40) This sentence simulates the interaction between the oral performer and the audience. In his writing, Africanisms seem to jostle fo space with metropolitan French expressions. The syntax and structure of sentences are modeled on those of Lingala-an indigenous African language. This novel is not an easy read by any stretch of the imaginaition, but it is replete with invaluable socio-cultural information for readers not familiar with that part of Africa. A must read!
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