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The first thing to be said about Wangrin is that he is a rogue. Whatever forces, traditional or colonial, that shaped him, he is, above all, a very human rogue. He is also an operator, working both the colonial French and his own people. He is funny, outrageous, corrupt, traditional, and memorable. If Wangrin is a representative character at a time of transition, Ba's book also bridges the chasm between oral and written literature. Many of the stories about Wangrin are drawn from oral sources, but in the hands of the gifted veteran Malian scholar and writer these materials become transformed through the power of artistic imagination and license. The Fortunes of Wangrin is generally considered to be the greatest testimony of the impact of the colonial system on local populations during the period of the establishments of French rule in the Sahelian region of West Africa. The book won the Grand Prix Litteraire de l'Afrique Noire on its publication in French in 1976 and is now recognised as a classic in franchophone African literature. "Where did Wangrin come from?" "Wangrin was born in a country both ancient and mysterious, a country where rain and wind, in the service of the gods, gnashed the mountainside with their invisible and useless teeth, creating in the process a flat and monotonous surface..." from the Overture
Indiana University Press
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