The Lion Sleeps Tonight: And Other Stories of Africa

Open Road + Grove/Atlantic
1
Free sample

An essay collection that offers “a fascinating glimpse of post-apartheid South Africa” from the bestselling author of My Traitor’s Heart (The Sunday Times).
 
The Lion Sleeps Tonight is Rian Malan’s remarkable chronicle of South Africa’s halting steps and missteps, taken as blacks and whites try to build a new country. In the title story, Malan investigates the provenance of the world-famous song, recorded by Pete Seeger and REM among many others, which Malan traces back to a Zulu singer named Solomon Linda. He follows the trial of Winnie Mandela; he writes about the last Afrikaner, an old Boer woman who settled on the slopes of Mount Meru; he plunges into President Mbeki’s AIDS policies of the 1990s; and finally he tells the story of the Alcock brothers (sons of Neil and Creina whose heartbreaking story was told in My Traitor’s Heart), two white South Africans raised among the Zulu and fluent in their language and customs.
 
The twenty-one essays collected here, combined with Malan’s sardonic interstitial commentary, offer a brilliantly observed portrait of contemporary South Africa; “a grimly realistic picture of a nation clinging desperately to hope” (The Guardian).
Read more
Collapse

About the author

“[Malan is] a master storyteller, with a gift for conjuring a sense of place and an ear for engaging dialogue. . . . His best stories take you places you have never been and introduce you to characters who in lesser hands would be caricatures. . . . Malan captures the tension between hope and despair as few others have.”—The New York Review of Books

“Exhibiting the same fiercely lyrical voice that made My Traitor’s Heart so compelling, the book is a beautiful, wry, often angry account of where South Africa has been and where it is going. . . . The dominant voice in a Malan story is his own wonder at the beauty, chaos and paradoxes of his continent. . . . Malan is one of the finest nonfiction writers alive, and American readers should treasure this chance to get to know him again.”—The Wall Street Journal

“[The Lion Sleeps Tonight] reflects the chaos, hope, and amazing stories since the end of apartheid. . . . brilliant writing on everything from the origins of the ‘Lion King’ theme song to Mbeki’s legacy—and how he blew it on AIDs. . . . Malan’s new collection spans the years between 1994 and 2008, when South Africa oscillated between the extremes of “terror and ecstasy,” sometimes in the same week, as it lurched into its brave new world. Malan’s essays capture the transition in all its dysfunction and glory. . . . It’s a dizzying ride, one on which Malan serves as an expert, if somewhat curmudgeonly, guide. . . . a devilishly talented writer and storyteller.”—The Daily Beast

"Top-shelf writing . . . the pages of his book begin to seem like a path strewn with rose petals."—Bookforum

“Malan is a great storyteller and sometime polemicist . . . a consistently vivid, energetic writer. It’s hard not to keep reading The Lion Sleeps Tonight once you've started, and even when you’re done you're likely to page back through the book in case there's something you missed.”—The Mail and Guardian (South Africa)

“The Lion Sleeps Tonight, quite simply, is outstandingly good.”—The Daily Maverick (South Africa)

“Malan is, as I think most South Africans know, an absolutely remarkable writer—perhaps one of the best writers and commentators in the world.”—The Daily Dispatch (South Africa)

“Cynical, lively and, above all, opinionated. . . . [The Lion Sleeps Tonight] provides a fascinating glimpse of post-apartheid South Africa.”—The Sunday Times (UK)

“[A] startling collection of essays. . . . South Africa should treasure Malan, but it won’t. One suspects that he wouldn’t have it any other way.”—The Sunday Times (UK)

“[Malan] is not interested in generalizations, or political theories, or rosy speculation, or myths, or race theory, but in simple justice. . . . Malan is South Africa’s Christopher Hitchens, similarly touched with genius.”—The Daily Telegraph

“Malan’s sardonic narration offers a succinct picture of South Africa today.” —Irish Examiner

“A book ripe with horrors. But also—and you can feel the astonishment in his words when he says as much—strange new moments of hope. . . . Animated by anger and a savage irony, yet always controlled, clear and readable.”—Sunday Herald (UK)
Read more
Collapse
1.0
1 total
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road + Grove/Atlantic
Read more
Collapse
Published on
Nov 6, 2012
Read more
Collapse
Pages
368
Read more
Collapse
ISBN
9780802194831
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Language
English
Read more
Collapse
Genres
History / Africa / South / Republic of South Africa
Literary Collections / African
Literary Collections / Essays
Read more
Collapse
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Collapse
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more
Collapse

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
When the multitalented biographer Edmund Morris (who writes with equal virtuosity about Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Beethoven, and Thomas Edison) was a schoolboy in colonial Kenya, one of his teachers told him, “You have the most precious gift of all—originality.” That quality is abundantly evident in this selection of essays. They cover forty years in the life of a maverick intellectual who can be, at whim, astonishingly provocative, self-mockingly funny, and richly anecdotal. (The title essay, a tribute to Reagan in cognitive decline, is poignant in the extreme.)
 
Whether Morris is analyzing images of Barack Obama or the prose style of President Clinton, or exploring the riches of the New York Public Library Dance Collection, or interviewing the novelist Nadine Gordimer, or proposing a hilarious “Diet for the Musically Obese,” a continuous cross-fertilization is going on in his mind. It mixes the cultural pollens of Africa, Britain, and the United States, and  propogates hybrid flowers—some fragrant, some strange, some a shock to conventional sensibilities.
 
Repeatedly in This Living Hand, Morris celebrates the physicality of artistic labor, and laments the glass screen that today’s e-devices interpose between inspiration and execution. No presidential biographer has ever had so literary a “take” on his subjects: he discerns powers of poetic perception even in the obsessively scientific Edison. Nor do most writers on music have the verbal facility to articulate, as Morris does, what it is about certain sounds that soothe the savage breast. His essay on the pathology of Beethoven’s deafness breaks new ground in suggesting that tinnitus may explain some of the weird aural effects in that composer’s works. Masterly monographs on the art of biography, South Africa in the last days of apartheid, the romance of the piano, and the role of imagination in nonfiction are juxtaposed with enchanting, almost unclassifiable pieces such as “The Bumstitch: Lament for a Forgotten Fruit” (Morris suspects it may have grown in the Garden of Eden); “The Anticapitalist Conspiracy: A Warning” (an assault on The Chicago Manual of Style); “Nuages Gris: Colors in Music, Literature, and Art”; and the uproarious “Which Way Does Sir Dress?”, about ordering a suit from the most expensive tailor in London.
 
Uniquely illustrated with images that the author describes as indispensable to his creative process, This Living Hand is packed with biographical insights into such famous personalities as Daniel Defoe, Henry Adams, Mark Twain, Evelyn Waugh,  Truman Capote, Glenn Gould, Jasper Johns, W. G. Sebald, and Winnie the Pooh—not to mention a gallery of forgotten figures whom Morris lovingly restores to “life.” Among these are the pianist Ferruccio Busoni, the poet Edwin Arlington Robinson, the novelist James Gould Cozzens, and sixteen so-called “Undistinguished Americans,” contributors to an anthology of anonymous memoirs published in 1902.
 
Reviewing that book for The New Yorker, Morris notes that even the most unlettered persons have, on occasion, “power to send forth surprise flashes, illuminating not only the dark around them but also more sophisticated shadows—for example, those cast by public figures who will not admit to private failings, or by philosophers too cerebral to state a plain truth.” The author of This Living Hand is not an ordinary person, but he too sends forth surprise flashes, never more dazzlingly than in his final essay, “The Ivo Pogorelich of Presidential Biography.”
The volume is dedicated to the memory of the late Calvin S. Brown of the University of Georgia, author of the first systematically conceived survey - Music and Literature: A Comparison of the Arts (1948) - of the branch of interart studies now generally known as Melopoetics. Part One consists of six original contributions by experts from Austria, Belgium, France, and the United States. Authored by a novelist and a composer/scholar, respectively, the first two essays - Jean Libis's “Inspiration musicale et composition littéraire: Réflexions sur un roman schubertien” and David M. Hertz's “The Composer's Musico-Literary Experience: Reflections on Song Writing” - focus, not surprisingly, on the creative process. The third piece - Francis' Claudon's review of the pertinent research done between 1970 and 1990 - complements the honoree's analogous report on the preceding decades, reprinted in the present volume, whereas the fourth - Jean-Louis Cupers' “Métaphores de l'écho et de l'ombre: Regards sur l'évolution des études musico-littéraires” - surveys the plethora of metaphorical applications, in music and literature, of two significant natural phenomena, the one acoustic and the other optical. Linked to each other, the two remaining papers - Ulrich Weisstein's ”The Miracle of Interconnectedness: Calvin S. Brown, a Critical Biography” and Walter Bernhart's “A Profile in Retrospect: Calvin S. Brown as a Musico-Literary Scholar” - offer critical accounts of the honoree's theoretical and methodological stance as viewed, in the first case, from a biographical angle and, in the second, in the light of subsequent scholarly practice.Part Two bundles eleven of Professor Brown's previously uncollected articles, covering a period of nearly half a century of significant scholarly activity in the field. The selection demonstrates Brown's poignant interest in transpositions d'art exemplifying the “musicalization” of literature in the formal and structural, rather than thematic, domain as culminating in his trenchant critique of “music in poetry” as understood, somewhat naïvely, by Mallarmé and his critics, and, to a slightly lesser extent, by his translation of Josef Weinhebers' variations on Friedrich Hölderlin's ode “An die Parzen”. Just as Professor Brown's successive anatomies of melopoetic theory and practice illustrate his steadily growing sophistication and the maturing of his mind, so his Bloomington lecture “The Writing and Reading of Language and Music: Thoughts on Some Parallels Between two Artistic Media” reflects his unique ability to assemble, and organize, vast materials and comprehensive data in such a way as to reveal the underlying pattern.
Mobutu Sese Seko, who ruled Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) from 1965 until 1997, was fond of saying “happy are those who sing and dance,” and his regime energetically promoted the notion of culture as a national resource. During this period Zairian popular dance music (often referred to as la rumba zaïroise) became a sort of musica franca in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. But how did this privileged form of cultural expression, one primarily known for a sound of sweetness and joy, flourish under one of the continent’s most brutal authoritarian regimes? In Rumba Rules, the first ethnography of popular music in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bob W. White examines not only the economic and political conditions that brought this powerful music industry to its knees, but also the ways that popular musicians sought to remain socially relevant in a time of increasing insecurity.

Drawing partly on his experiences as a member of a local dance band in the country’s capital city Kinshasa, White offers extraordinarily vivid accounts of the live music scene, including the relatively recent phenomenon of libanga, which involves shouting the names of wealthy or powerful people during performances in exchange for financial support or protection. With dynamic descriptions of how bands practiced, performed, and splintered, White highlights how the ways that power was sought and understood in Kinshasa’s popular music scene mirrored the charismatic authoritarianism of Mobutu’s rule. In Rumba Rules, Congolese speak candidly about political leadership, social mobility, and what it meant to be a bon chef (good leader) in Mobutu’s Zaire.

©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.