"The most prominent of the younger generation of writers in Portuguese-speaking Africa, Couto passionately and sensitively describes everyday life in poverty-stricken Mozambique."--Guardian (London)
"Quite unlike anything else I have read from Africa."--Doris Lessing
As the civil war rages in 1980s Mozambique, an old man and a young boy, refugees from the war, seek shelter in a burnt-out bus. Among the effects of a dead passenger, they come across a set of notebooks that tell of his life. As the boy reads the story to his elderly companion, this story and their own develop in tandem. Written in 1992, Mia Couto's first novel is a powerful indictment of the suffering war brings.
Born in 1955 in Mozambique, Mia Couto ran the AIM news agency during the revolutionary struggle. He now lives in Maputo where he works as an environmental biologist and heads the Mozambique side of the Limpopo Transnational Park. In 2007 he was the first African author to win the Latin Union Award for Romance Languages; in 2013 he was awarded the e100,000 Cam�es Prize for Literature, in recognition of his life's work. In 2014 he received the $50,000 Neustadt Prize for Literature, and in 2015 he was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize.
BY THE WINNER OF THE 2013 CAMÕES PRIZE
AND THE WINNER OF THE 2014 NEUSTADT PRIZE
“Quite unlike anything else I have read from Africa.""—Doris Lessing
“By meshing the richness of African beliefs . . . into the Western framework of the novel, he creates a mysterious and surreal epic.”—Henning Mankell
Mwanito was eleven when he saw a woman for the first time, and the sight so surprised him he burst into tears.
Mwanito has been living in a former big-game park for eight years. The only people he knows are his father, his brother, an uncle, and a servant. He’s been told that the rest of the world is dead, that all roads are sad, that they wait for an apology from God. In the place his father calls Jezoosalem, Mwanito has been told that crying and praying are the same thing. Both, it seems, are forbidden.
The eighth novel by the internationally bestselling Mia Couto, The Tuner of Silences is the story of Mwanito’s struggle to reconstruct a family history that his father is unable to discuss. With the young woman’s arrival in Jezoosalem, however, the silence of the past quickly breaks down, and both his father’s story and the world are heard once more.
The Tuner of Silences has been published to acclaim in more than half a dozen countries. Now in its first English translation, this story of an African boy's quest for the truth endures as a magical, humanizing confrontation between one child and the legacy of war.
PRAISE FOR MIA COUTO
“On almost every page … we sense Couto’s delight in those places where language slips officialdom’s asphyxiating grasp.”—The New York Times
"Even in translation, his prose is suffused with striking images.”—The Washington Post
PRAISE FOR DAVID BROOKSHAW
"David Brookshaw dexterously renders the novel's often colloquial, pithy Portuguese into lively English. Brookshaw's task is made more exacting by the particular quality of Couto's brilliance.”—The New York Times
Told through two haunting, interwoven diaries, Mia Couto's Confession of the Lioness reveals the mysterious world of Kulumani, an isolated village in Mozambique whose traditions and beliefs are threatened when ghostlike lionesses begin hunting the women who live there.
Mariamar, a woman whose sister was killed in a lioness attack, finds her life thrown into chaos when the outsider Archangel Bullseye, the marksman hired to kill the lionesses, arrives at the request of the village elders. Mariamar's father imprisons her in her home, where she relives painful memories of past abuse and hopes to be rescued by Archangel. Meanwhile, Archangel tracks the lionesses in the wilderness, but when he begins to suspect there is more to them than meets the eye, he starts to lose control of his hands. The hunt grows more dangerous, until it's no safer inside Kulumani than outside it. As the men of Kulumani feel increasingly threatened by the outsider, the forces of modernity upon their traditional culture, and the danger of their animal predators closing in, it becomes clear the lionesses might not be real lionesses at all but spirits conjured by the ancient witchcraft of the women themselves.
Both a riveting mystery and a poignant examination of women's oppression, Confession of the Lioness explores the confrontation between the modern world and ancient traditions to produce an atmospheric, gripping novel.
"Subtle and elegant."—The Wall Street Journal
"At once deadpan and beguiling."—The Times Literary Supplement
"To understand what makes António 'Mia' Emílio Leite Couto special—even extraordinary—we have to loosen our grip on the binary that distinguishes between 'the West' and 'Africa.' Couto is 'white' without not being African, and as an 'African' writer he's one of the most important figures in a global Lusophone literature that stretches across three continents."—The New Inquiry
What would Barack Obama's 2004 campaign have looked like if it unfolded in an African nation? What does it mean to be an African writer today? How do writers and poets from all continents teach us to cross the sertão, the savannah, the barren places where we're forced to walk within ourselves? Bringing together the best pieces from his previously untranslated nonfiction collections, alongside new material presented here for the first time in any language, Pensativities offers English readers a taste of Mia Couto as essayist, lecturer, and journalist—with essays on cosmopolitanism, poverty, culture gaps, conservation, and more.
Mia Couto, an environmental biologist from Mozambique, is the author of twenty five books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. His work has been translated into twenty languages worldwide. In 2007 he was the first African author to win the Latin Union Award for Romance Languages, in 2013 he was awarded the €100,000 Camões Prize for Literature, and in 2014 he received World Literature Today's $50,000 Neustadt Prize for Literature.