In this English translation of the novel that won the French Voices Grand Prize, Prix Ahmadou Kourouma, and Grand Prix du Roman Métis, Senegalese writer Sarr delivers readers to the imaginary town of Kalep, where a fundamentalist Islamist government has spread its brutal authority. But a group of intellectuals with a journal meant to bear witness to the Brotherhood's atrocities poses a challenge to the regime.
Presented in tense, terse fragments of scenes ... Power and resistance, right and wrong: Saar eradicates these binaries by exploring the edges and corners of his characters’ morality ... Saar’s prose soars as the six split off from one another, forge ahead and then come back together in more tender moments—all the while trying desperately to express their freedom ... The honest, nuanced correspondence between the mothers of the executed adulterers—a space they’ve made to process unimaginable pain—strengthens a novel that concerns itself with finding freedom where there seems to be none.
In this unforgettable novel, Sarr—through the meticulous translation of Alexia Trigo—creates the Brotherhood, a radical organization led by the unforgiving police chief Abdel Karim ... The book opens with the public execution of two young lovers who committed adultery. Sarr masterfully limns the grim scene ... [a] cat and mouse game propels the plot to warp speed ... Sarr rewards the reader with a powerful dénouement ... Sarr...display[s] uncanny abilities to transport the reader into the lives of oppressed groups...showing just how unfair and cruel life has been for some of them.