After reading Véronique Tadjo’s In the Company of Men , we can at least acknowledge that the symptoms of covid-19, though horrific and too often deadly, are not as vicious, excruciating, and lethal as those of Ebola ... carefully and comprehensively detailed in Tadjo’s deeply affecting chronicle, which incorporates real-life testimony and fictional voices, including those of victims, caregivers, a village baobab tree, the bats who spread the virus to humans, and even Ebola itself ... The most disquieting aspect of the novel is not the detailed descriptions of the grisly effects of the virus on the body, but rather the author’s assertion that humans and Ebola have a lot more in common than we higher life forms would like to admit.
The book’s twin emphases—the notion that nature is important, and the idea that people should understand the world as a unit, its pieces together in every fight—are handled in both realistic and magical manners. In the Company of Men is graphic in detailing a relevant historical moment, while also devoting emotion and attention to those who dealt with Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
Tadjo’s resonant, unflinching latest delves into the West African ebola crisis of the mid-2010s and how it played out in a region devastated by trauma and loss ... As personal and humane as it is biblically grand ... Tadjo humanizes the crisis, and the most resonant scenes bear witness to the virus as it spreads in 'silence, a thick, threatening silence, auguring even more harrowing days to come.' Brief and haunting, this makes for a timely testament to the destructive powers of pandemics.