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So Long a Letter (1980)

af Mariama Bâ

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1,3334314,560 (3.79)167
This novel is in the form of a letter, written by the widowed Ramatoulaye and describing her struggle for survival. It is the winner of the Noma Award.
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Engelsk (40)  Italiensk (1)  Spansk (1)  Tysk (1)  Alle sprog (43)
Viser 1-5 af 43 (næste | vis alle)
This is a classic that I have seen on so many Women in Translation lists. So when I saw a used copy at my local bookstore I had to snatch it up.

This functions as a snapshot of a society in flux. Ramatoulaye has recently been widowed, and is writing a long letter to her best friend from her school days. The letter recounts how she got to hear: Ramatoulaye and her friend were among the first generation of girls to pursue education past grade school as their country modernizes after gaining its independence. Both women were educated for professions, both worked and also married, and both of their husbands later took a second wife down the line. But Ramatoulaye's friend took her children and left when the second marriage happened, while she herself stayed.

This book depicts a startling amount of empathy and understanding on all sides, for all the players in these dramas and why they made the choices that they did. This was very satisfying on a level of peeking into a different society level, less satisfying on a emotional level. Ramatoulaye came off a little too perfect and long-suffering to me. Where was her anger? Her fight? She does stand up for herself in important ways, here. But I definitely left this book thinking BRING ON THE QUEERS. Between this and The House of the Spirits, I just need a little break from men being terrible to women.

(I have a whole lot of thoughts, actually, about the abundance of "men being terrible to women" in Women in Translation, but this is not the time.) ( )
  greeniezona | Mar 16, 2024 |
So Long a Letter is an epistolary novel and semiautobiographical. It is a series of letters by Ramatoulaye Fall to her lifelong friend, Aissatou. Both women are betrayed by their husbands, who take second wives, but they respond in very different ways. This is a gentle novel, not forceful like Emecheta's The Joys of Motherhood or as anti-Colonial as Nervous Conditions. Instead the reader is brought into Ramatoulaye's personal space as though these intimate letters are addressed to us, and we are invited to understand her perspective even if, like Aissatou, we would have chosen to act differently. I very much enjoyed this short novel and wish that Bâ had been able to continue writing (she died at age 52, shortly after her second work was published). So Long a Letter won the Noma Award for best novel published in Africa in 1980. ( )
  labfs39 | Dec 31, 2023 |
3.5 ( )
  mmcrawford | Dec 5, 2023 |
Mariama Ba's epistolary novel of Ramatoulaye's correspondence with her friend Aissatou offers a modern perspective on being a wife and mother in Senegalese society. The women in this story see polygamy as a plague, allowing their husbands the freedom to rip out the roots of their domestic life on a whim. Ramatoulaye is also deeply concerned with raising her daughters to be educated and independent. Throughout, she faces the pitfalls of being a single mother in a fairly conservative society and facing the reproval of her community. ( )
  jonbrammer | Jul 1, 2023 |
Reason Read: TBR takedown 1001
This is a work of feminism by Senegalese author. I enjoyed reading this story of a woman who is in the period of mourning following the death of her husband. This is a story of a woman who’s husband had taken a younger wife. It explores what this meant to have a cowife. It also explores what it is like to be a part of a husband’s family. In her writing, or journal, she writes to her friend whose husband also took a second younger wife. That woman chose to divorce. Both women are very strong women who live up to their own standards. Many good thoughts in this book. Recommended. ( )
  Kristelh | Dec 9, 2022 |
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» Tilføj andre forfattere (4 mulige)

Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Mariama Bâprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Bodé-Thomas, ModupéOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Harrow, Kenneth W.Introduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Martín Pérez, SoniaOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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To Abibatou Niang, pure and constant, lucid and thorough, who shares my feelings.
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Dear Aissatou, I have received your letter.
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This novel is in the form of a letter, written by the widowed Ramatoulaye and describing her struggle for survival. It is the winner of the Noma Award.

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