Author(s): Maryse Condé; Barbara Bray (Translator)
"A wondrous novel" (New York Times) from the winner of the 2018 Alternative Nobel prize in literature (the New Academy Prize)
The year is 1797, and the kingdom of Segu is flourishing, fed by the wealth of its noblemen and the power of its warriors. The people of Segu, the Bambara, are guided by their griots and priests; their lives are ruled by the elements. But even their soothsayers can only hint at the changes to come, for the battle of the soul of Africa has begun. From the east comes a new religion, Islam, and from the West, the slave trade.
Segu follows the life of Dousika Traore, the king's most trusted advisor, and his four sons, whose fates embody the forces tearing at the fabric of the nation. There is Tiekoro, who renounces his people's religion and embraces Islam; Siga, who defends tradition, but becomes a merchant; Naba, who is kidnapped by slave traders; and Malobali, who becomes a mercenary and halfhearted Christian.
Based on actual events, Segu transports the reader to a fascinating time in history, capturing the earthy spirituality, religious fervor, and violent nature of a people and a growing nation trying to cope with jihads, national rivalries, racism, amid the vagaries of commerce.
Maryse Conde (Author) Maryse Conde was born at Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, in 1937 and spent most of her life in West Africa (Guinea, Ghana and Senegal), France and the US, where she taught at the University of California, Berkeley, UCLA and Columbia. The publication of her bestselling third novel, Segu (1984), established her pre-eminent position among Caribbean writers. She won Le Grand Prix Litteraire de la Femme in 1986 as well as Le Prix de L'Academie Francaise in 1988 and was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize in 2015.