We’ll continue our discussion of Farah’s Crossbones in its entirety tomorrow. In preparing for that, I might be taking a look at these two (short and pithy and light) essays by novelists Aminatta Forna and Ben Okri, containing insights about how writers are thinking about the stakes of their work in relation to “African literature” writ large these days. We’ll get back into some weighty theoretical material after the break, I promise.
I’ll just note that Okri and Forna are both *incredible* writers whose absence on our syllabus makes me sad. I know some of you have read The Memory of Love. Okri’s The Famished Road is arguably the best work of African fiction to be published in the 90s; I’ll go ahead and say it’s the best one I’ve read. Okri is one of Africa’s most well-known writers to deploy magic realism (or something like it – it’s not clear that this formal term translates perfectly across national/continental contexts). I was anxious about adding yet another Nigerian author to the mix, but had I not had that anxiety, we’d have been reading that novel.