Congo Inc. PDF ✓ Paperback


Congo Inc. One of those excellent, world expanding novels that you know not enough people will read once again I find myself struggling not to introduce a book about the Congo by means of a lengthy prelude on conflict minerals and geopolitics, the same way these books are always introduced in the LRB or the Literary Review And you do feel the need to justify it, it s weird, I could see when I started talking to friends about this book that they d mentally dismiss it as concerning some obscure African coun One of those excellent, world expanding novels that you know not enough people will read once again I find myself struggling not to introduce a book about the Congo by means of a lengthy prelude on conflict minerals and geopolitics, the same way these books are always introduced in the LRB or the Literary Review And you do feel the need to justify it, it s weird, I could see when I started talking to friends about this book that they d mentally dismiss it as concerning some obscure African country which has nothing to do with them In fact the Congo is much, muchimportant to your life than I don t know Italy, or Canada Unless you re Italian or Canadian, I suppose Maybe even then Although in one sense the country has had a disproportionately large place in literary history from Conrad to Kingsolver, via Andr Gide and VS Naipaul nevertheless actual Congolese people are often a distant presence in these works, and the country can easily find itself reduced to a general backdrop of incomprehensible African chaos Unlike Chinua Achebe, I don t think there s anything wrong with that in itself but it is definitely nice to see that there are now some generally expatriate Congolese authors being published globally who have their own, less alienated take on the situation there.If you re a writer, it seems there s two ways you can go when you re trying to explain the Congo to people Either you do what Fiston Mwanza Mujila did in Tram 83, and examine an EXTREME CLOSE UP of a few individuals in one microcosmic bar or, you do what In Koli Jean Bofane does in this book, which is to see the country as a vast panorama of different people and places participating in a truly global web of interrelations.So the characters here include an Ekonda pygmy, a Lithuanian UN commander, an Italian diplomat in New York, a child prostitute, a Tutsi warlord, a Belgian ethnologist, a revivalist pastor and the Chongqing Chief of Police It s an exhilarating cast list it s also hugely ambitious and it takes, I think, a pretty confident author even to attempt this kind of top level view of things.The book s opening is characteristic of the way the novel plays with readers preconceptions and stereotypes We first meet the book s main protagonist, the young pygmy Isookanga, in what we take to be his natural habitat, catching caterpillars in the equatorial jungle Within a few pages, though, Bofane whips the rug out from under us by having Isookanga run back home to swap his bark loincloth for a pair of Superdry jeans and a Snoop Dogg T shirt, and boot up his laptop This is just the first of a whole series of bait and switch scenes where you re never sure whether Bofane is going to show you the DRC as a kind of playground of atavistic lawlessness, or alternatively as the willing cornerstone of twenty first century globalisation.Isookanga heads for the big city to follow his dream of becoming a globalist, and ends up living on the streets among Kinshasa s vast population of sh gu s, or street children, who accept him because of his diminutive size In his downtime he plays an online MMORPG called Raging Trade, in which players take the role of various military industrial multinationals and compete for the control of the mineral resources of a fictional country, to which end they use any means at their disposal, including heavy bombardments, ethnic cleansing, population movements, slavery.The irony is not especially subtle, but it s powerful Bofane s black humour and his flair for juxtaposition provide many similar examples as for instance the extraordinary moment when a former child soldier finds a water pistol at a market The teenager turns the coloured toy around in the sunlight, examining the barrel, the trigger, and finally squirting himself in the face as his heart swelled with an emotion that he was not able to identify Bofane tells us little else, but what he lets you infer about the boy s past experience with guns, but also about his lack of experience with toys made it one of the most beautiful scenes I ve read in months.At other times his writing is less reflective andraw, even frenetic This is not the case when he writes about the violence in the east of the country, where the narrative voice becomes very controlled though the sexual violence is described in extremely challenging detail but, rather, it s in the moments of interpersonal negotiations and emotional upset that he becomesexperimental One character, a visiting anthropologist, finds herself developing feelings for Isookanga a physical attraction which for her as a Belgian is tinged with un d licieux sentiment de culpabilitWhen the two of them finally have sex, Bofane s prose suddenly veers away from naturalistic description into something altogetherheated view spoiler Arc bout sur ses cuisses, il ignorait que chaque coup de rein qu il lui portait tait pour elle comme le fouet que ses anc tres avaient subi lors de l esclavage que chaque assaut entre ses cuisses ouvertes tait aussi impitoyable que la hache tranchant des mains, que la chicote inflig e par L opold II et ses descendants que chaque p n tration de son membre provoquait une turbulence digne d une meute pour ind pendence que les Han mis par sa bouche rappelaient ceux prof r s par le Belge G rard Soete pendant la d coupe la scie du corps de Patrice Lumumba que chaque secousse dans son ventre sensible r sonnait comme les salves tir es par le n ocolonialisme sauvage, comme les diktats du Fonds mon taire international, comme les r solutions de l ONU, comme une r dition de Tintin au Congo, comme le discours Dakar d un pr sident fran ais mal inform , comme la propagation de propos racistes dans le twittosph re hide spoiler Braced over her thighs, he was unaware that every thrust he made was, for her, like the lash that his ancestors had suffered during slavery that every assault between her open legs was as pitiless as the axes that had chopped people s hands off, as the whip inflicted by Leopold II and his descendants that every penetration of his member caused a frenzy worthy of a pro independence riot that every Unggh from his mouth recalled those made by the Belgian G rard Soete as Patrice Lumumba s body was sawn into pieces that every shudder of his sensitised abdomen reverberated like the salvos fired off by a wild neocolonialism, like the diktats of the International Monetary Fund, like UN resolutions, like a new edition of Tintin in the Congo , like the Dakar speech of an ill informed French president, like the propagation of racist comments in the Twittersphere.Wow What a passage Bofane was raised by his Belgian stepfather and grew up on his coffee plantation, a fact which, he says, has given him a unique viewpoint on racial and postcolonial issues in the Congo There is certainly a lot of that to get stuck into in this book, but it s also just a really great, ambitious attempt by a writer to put his country in its proper global context with scenes of violence and humour and transcendence that you re unlikely to see anywhere else An English translation is apparently forthcoming from Indiana University Press, and I heartily recommend it to any Canadians, Italians, and other curious globalists This was the first book I ve read from a series from the Indiana University Press called Global African Voices 26 year old Isookanga, from the Ekonda clan, who are unkindly and demeaningly referred to as Pygmies , leaves his family deep in the forest of the Congo to explore the world of commerce and technology in Kinshasa Initially he struggles to make any money or friends, and settles amongst a group of street children due to his small stature he is mistaken as a child Though Isookanga, hi This was the first book I ve read from a series from the Indiana University Press called Global African Voices 26 year old Isookanga, from the Ekonda clan, who are unkindly and demeaningly referred to as Pygmies , leaves his family deep in the forest of the Congo to explore the world of commerce and technology in Kinshasa Initially he struggles to make any money or friends, and settles amongst a group of street children due to his small stature he is mistaken as a child Though Isookanga, his enterprise of selling bottled water, and other themes of globalisation exploiting the Congolese, provide the backbone to the novel, the real interest is in the street children, orsh gu swho have experienced military raids on their rural villages, domestic abuse, and prostitution After one of them is killed on the streets, the awful character of the entirely unreformed warlord Kiro Bizimungu is introduced He is of Rwandan Tutsi origin, one who fled the genocide towards the Democratic Republic of Congo a few were left alive to tell the story of the horrors and then began to hunt down Hutus who fled from post genocide Tutsi dominated Rwanda into the Congo which in turn led to genocide style activities similar to which they had been subjected themselves In scenes that flashback to those times Bofane s writing is some of the most horrific and powerful that I have ever read Unsurprisingly, the main storyline of the novel becomes of much less interest than that of the fate of Bizimungu This is a very impressive work on the heart of contemporary Africa vivid in its description, in some places disturbingly so, and giving a fascinating insight into life in Kinshasa, aswell as the country s recent history, and what the population has had to deal with This is one of the best books I have ever read Mainly because it delivers such strong messages through tongue in cheek narrative and storyline This is a book about globalisation and the lasting legacy of colonialism The book employs a plethora of different characters to give life to various aspects of modern day Congo that can become banal through the prism of NGO reports Best of all is the application of euphemistic language of the market to daily life The mineral wealth of Congo that driv This is one of the best books I have ever read Mainly because it delivers such strong messages through tongue in cheek narrative and storyline This is a book about globalisation and the lasting legacy of colonialism The book employs a plethora of different characters to give life to various aspects of modern day Congo that can become banal through the prism of NGO reports Best of all is the application of euphemistic language of the market to daily life The mineral wealth of Congo that drives conflict is not just in the ground, it pervades the book through language, through food and through the protagonists lives Ce livre est un m lange d tonnant de rires et d horreurs, d espoir et de d sespoir Le genre de lecture qui laisse vraiment une trace Voici un roman plein d humour qui nous fait gravement r fl chir sur le colonialisme, le n o colonialisme, la mondialisation, les ONG, l ONU et tous les pr dateurs qui peuplent notre plan te A d couvrir absolument Longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Award, I started by reading up on the Congo countries and their colonial history, which helped a lot with understanding the book However the mixture of cyber punk, black humor and intense descriptions of brutal torture along with the one dimensional characters did not really make for a good reading experience in my opinion I will round the 2.5 up because of the importance of the subject matter I realize that all books don t have to be pleasant to Longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Award, I started by reading up on the Congo countries and their colonial history, which helped a lot with understanding the book However the mixture of cyber punk, black humor and intense descriptions of brutal torture along with the one dimensional characters did not really make for a good reading experience in my opinion I will round the 2.5 up because of the importance of the subject matter I realize that all books don t have to be pleasant to read to be a literary success.Will it make the short list Nope Qui sauvera le Congo, spoli par l ext rieur, pourri de l int rieur L innocence et les r ves, les projets et la solidarit La litt rature, bien s r, quand elle est comme ici servie par un conteur hors pair, dot d un humour caustique et d une d termination sans faille S lection Prix du 2 me roman, 6 6 Le nouvel tat du Congo est destin tre un des plus importants ex cutants de l uvre que nous entendons accomplir C tait la Conf rence de Berlin en 1885, Bismarck tait chancelier.Aujourd hui, le Congo est rest ce vaste territoire qui suscite toujours autant d envie, en raison de ses ressources mini res Les int r ts de puissances, de groupes arm s s y concentrent mais ne convergent pas toujours Dans tous les cas, les populations locales finissent S lection Prix du 2 me roman, 6 6 Le nouvel tat du Congo est destin tre un des plus importants ex cutants de l uvre que nous entendons accomplir C tait la Conf rence de Berlin en 1885, Bismarck tait chancelier.Aujourd hui, le Congo est rest ce vaste territoire qui suscite toujours autant d envie, en raison de ses ressources mini res Les int r ts de puissances, de groupes arm s s y concentrent mais ne convergent pas toujours Dans tous les cas, les populations locales finissent par en payer le prix.Ce roman suit ainsi le parcours d un jeune Pygm e avide de quitter son village perdu, et dot d une confiance incroyable en la mondialisation Bien entendu, il ne se rend pas compte que derri re les projets qu il m ne, des individus et organisations tr s puissants, de Washington Chogqing, en passant par Kigali, La Haye et quand m me un peu Kinshasa tirent presque toutes les ficellesOn ressort de l avec l impression que le Congo est aujourd hui un immense bourbier, o corruption, malhonn tet s, violences s exercent quotidiennement L criture est pre, et l auteur ne nous pargne aucun v nement, jusqu la transcription de massacres, malheureusement bien n cessaire pour un peu nous faire prendre conscience de ce qui se passe l bas I found this book truly exceptional and startling I was not expecting to be so sucked into this story of a young pygmy in the Democratic Republic of Congo who leaves his village for the big city of Kinshasa His survival skills, resilience, adaptability to crazy circumstance make Isookanga and endearing and lively presence His sense of optimism, ambition and chutzpah are remarkable and the story of this budding globalist s tale leave one with a very conflicted and complex view of this region I found this book truly exceptional and startling I was not expecting to be so sucked into this story of a young pygmy in the Democratic Republic of Congo who leaves his village for the big city of Kinshasa His survival skills, resilience, adaptability to crazy circumstance make Isookanga and endearing and lively presence His sense of optimism, ambition and chutzpah are remarkable and the story of this budding globalist s tale leave one with a very conflicted and complex view of this region whose people have suffered so greatly His friendship with the young man from China who has participated in the mapping of mineral wealth for future exploitation, the world of street market children he smoothly enters, his role in defusing a volatile situation with the police, his rapport with a high level Tutsi who is looking to exploit his home village for mineral wealth, all reveal skills in navigating a complex society we can envision later being used for good or ill in his upcoming role as designated village leader Lots of food for thought This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here une mani re tr s dr le de critiquer , de contester la situation et de la souffrance du peuple congolais RD , de d fendre les droits des femmes congolaises cette histoire te fait d couvrir le Congo aux yeux d un petit homme.je vous le recommande fortement, si vous aimez des livres qui utilise du sarcasme ou autres pour parler d une situation dans le monde ou de contester sur la non action du monde ,vous allez adorer ce livre une mani re tr s dr le de critiquer , de contester la situation et de la souffrance du peuple congolais RD , de d fendre les droits des femmes congolaises cette histoire te fait d couvrir le Congo aux yeux d un petit homme.je vous le recommande fortement, si vous aimez des livres qui utilise du sarcasme ou autres pour parler d une situation dans le monde ou de contester sur la non action du monde ,vous allez adorer ce livre


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About the Author: In Koli Jean Bofane

Born in 1954, now living in Belgium.


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