In the United States of Africa

“In the United States of Africa” by Abdourahman A. Waberi (Djibouti)


Readers all agreed that the idea of turning the world upside down was a clever and original one. They liked the beginning of the book, but became disenchanted as they read on finding the story more and more difficult to follow. Although they thought there was some very fine writing, they felt that it was too floral and poetic, and that the lyricism sometimes got in the way of clarity. They found it hard to warm to any of the characters as they were so thinly drawn. One reader did not like the use of the second-person narrative mode, though another reader found it endearing. After discussing the book, readers said that it was like a flower opening and they decided that the English translation was too literal and lacked nuance. As a result, they gave this version of the book a 6.3 out of 10, and would recommend reading the original French version (9782843047954).


In a literary reversal as deadly serious as it is wickedly satiric, this novel by the acclaimed Djibouti writer Abdourahman A. Waberi turns the fortunes of the world upside down. On this reimagined globe a stream of sorry humanity flows from the West, from the slums of America and the squalor of Europe, to escape poverty and desperation in the prosperous United States of Africa… Read more

Nicola’s Book Club reading list

Season 14 – “Satire” (Sep 2011 – Jan 2012)

“A Case of Exploding Mangoes” by Mohammed Hanif (Pakistan)
“Death as a Side Effect” by Ana Maria Shua (Argentina)
“The Brothers’ Lot” by Kevin Holohan (Ireland) *
“Oryx and Crake” by Margaret Atwood (Canada)
“In the United States of Africa” by Abdourahman A. Waberi (Djibouti) 

* The book club favourite

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