|COMPTE RENDU DE LECTURE DE JEAN-MARIE VOLET|
Des hommes ou des bêtes?
Lecture de En attendant le vote des bêtes sauvages, d'Ahmadou Kourouma
|Paris : L'Harmattan, 2000, 210p. ISBN: 2-7384-9747-0|
Chapter 1 outlines the origin of the novel and its narrative structure inspired by the 'donsomana'; i.e., a mind-cleansing ceremonial tale in the Malinké tradition. Chapter 2 discusses the main protagonist's (dictator Koyaga) journey of initiation against an historical background that spans 150 years of colonial and postcolonial experience and where "tout est vrai" [everything is true]. Chapter 3 brings to light the specificity of the novel's cast of characters that does not follow conventional Western models but rather moulds itself to the requirements of typical forms and conventions of the donsamana and the oral tradition to which such performance belongs. Chapter 4 deals with the themes of the novel which, Borgomano argues, are not to be arbitrarily chosen by the critic or the reader but given by the narrator because, as Kourouma's says, "tradition is prescriptive and it has to be respected". In chapter 5 titled "Ecriture", Borgomano's critique reveals the circularity of the novel and addresses the all important issue of writing in a frame of reference where "'commencer' and 'recommencer' sont posés comme équivalents" (p.188) [ to start and to start again are one and the same].
African literature can be approached, interpreted and "consumed" by readers in different ways, yet Borgomano's study stresses the importance of the African context and shows that Western literary interpretation is not universal. Above and beyond the idiosyncracies of readers' approach to the text, much can be gained, she suggests, from a reading that takes the author's socio-cultural influences and models into consideration. En attendant le vote des bêtes sauvages is a fine literary achievement in any sense, but what makes it especially interesting is the fact that it is the revealing of a profound, yet little known universe outside our own. Des hommes ou des bêtes? represents the perfect map to guide us into the discovery of that universe.