So Long a Letter

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Heinemann, 1989 - Fiction - 90 pages
13 Reviews
It is not only the fact that this is the most deeply felt presentation of the female condition in African fiction that gives distinction to this novel, but also its undoubted literary qualities, which seem to place it among the best novels that have come out of our continent. - West Africa This novel is a perceptive testimony to the plight of articulate women who live in social milieux dominated by attitudes and values that deny them their proper place. It is a sequence of reminiscences, some wistful, some bitter, recounted by a recently widowed Senegalese school teacher. The letter, addressed to an old friend, is a record of her emotional struggle for survival after her husband's abrupt decision to take a second wife. Although his action is sanctioned by Islam, it is a calculated betrayal of his wife's trust and a brutal rejection of their life together.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - TiffanyAK - LibraryThing

This is definitely a riveting account of cultural traditions and perceptions in a land very different from our own. Essentially, it is a fictional novel written as a set of letters from one woman to ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - banjo123 - LibraryThing

[So Long a Letter] by [[Mariama Ba]] is a short epistalory novel written in French by a Sengalese author. It is written from a recent widow to a dear friend and gives a review of their lives. Both ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
3
Section 3
5
Section 4
9
Section 5
11
Section 6
13
Section 7
15
Section 8
19
Section 10
46
Section 11
63
Section 12
66
Section 13
75
Section 14
84
Section 15
86
Section 16
88
Section 17
90

Section 9
29

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About the author (1989)

The promising literary career of Mariama Ba ended with her death in 1981 at the age of 52, just before the publication of her second novel, Le Chant Ecarlate (The Scarlet Song), a poetic drama of a love affair between a Senegalese student and the daughter of a French diplomat. Like the works of many other feminist African women writers, Ba's writing challenges many prevalent stereotypes that reinforce the African woman's acceptance of her "place" in society. Her first novel, So Long a Letter (1979), which revealed her clarity of vision and persuasive rhetoric, is written in an epistolary style. The long letter from one female friend to another is a deeply moving account of a Muslim woman's innermost feelings and emotional survival following her husband's decision to take a second, and much younger, wife. The novel has been translated into more than 15 languages and has received international acclaim. In 1980 Mariama Ba received the Noma Award for the best novel published in Africa.

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