Sleepwalking Land

“Sleepwalking Land” by Mia Couto (Mozambique)

Extract and Comment

It isn’t the story which fascinates him, but the spirit within it. And listening to Tuahir’s dreams, with the noises of war in the background, he begins to think: they should invent a gentle, more affable gunpowder, capable of exploding men without killing them. An inverse powder, which would generate more life. And out of one exploded man, the infinity of men within him would be born.

I love the image in this extract of the exploded man generating more life instead of death and that from him are born all those men he dreamed of being in his lifetime.

When I read about the conflicts and wars still continuing in the world today, I wonder whether the dream of peace they must plant in so many people’s minds will one day produce an infinity of men and women of peace. I like the idea that with our imagination, we can begin to create a new reality. And when we do it together, I believe it becomes unstoppable!


An old man and a young boy, refugees from a civil war, seek shelter in a burnt out bus. Among the belongings of a dead passenger, they discover a set of notebooks that tell of his life. As the boy reads the story to his elderly companion, the tale gradually becomes part of their own lives… Read more

Nicola’s Creative Reading Group reading list

Year 2 – “Africa and the Caribbean” (Oct 2007 – Jun 2008)

“This Blinding Absence of Light” by Tahar Ben Jelloun (Morocco)
“Woman at Point Zero” by Nawal El Saadawi (Egypt)
“Bitter Fruit” by Achmat Dangor (South Africa)
“Sleepwalking Land” by Mia Couto (Mozambique)
“Matigari” by Ngugi wa Thiong’o (Kenya)
“In-Between World of Vikram Lall” by M.G. Vassanji (Tanzania)
“Half of a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
“Ancestor Stones” by Aminatta Forna (Sierra Leone)
“The Dragon Can’t Dance” by Earl Lovelace (Trinidad & Tobago)

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