Book Review: Ambiguous Adventure

Ambiguous Adventure by Cheikh Hamidou Kane; translated by Katherine Woods (Brooklyn: Melville House Publishing, 2012; originally published 1962. 176 pp) Cheikh Hamidou Kane was born the son of a local chief in Senegal in 1928. He studied philosophy and law at the Sarbonne in Paris and later at the École Nationale de la France d’Outre-Mer. While in Paris, Kane wrote Ambiguous Adventure basing it on his experiences. Upon returning to Senegal, he published his novel to considerable acclaim winning the Grand Prix Littéraire d’Afrique Noir. Kane garnered employment in the Senegalese government in multiple ministerial positions. Kane lives in Dakar, Senegal. Besides her translation of Ambiguous Adventure, Katherine Woods is best known for her translation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The… Read More →

Book Review: Zeitoun

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers (New York: Vintage Books, 2009. 368 pp) Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Dave Eggers attended the University of Illinois but dropped out to take care of his younger brother in the wake of his parent’s death. These experiences are chronicled in Eggers’ best-selling memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. In addition to published works, he has founded McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house, and 826 National, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for kids 6-18 in urban areas across the nation. Mistakes We Knew We Were Making Imagine making a colossal mistake. I’m not talking about burning a turkey or showing up late for a date. I’m talking about losing-your-job big. Often times, mistakes at this level… Read More →

Book Group: My Name is Red

My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk; translated by Erdaǧ Göknar (New York: Knopf, 2001. 536 pp) Set in Istanbul during the Ottoman Empire, My Name Is Red functions as a murder mystery at its core. In its simplest construction, the plot of this novel seeks to find out who-done-it. Yet, the strength of this prize-winning story lies not in its plot but in its poetic language and descriptive setting. The main characters frequent the miniaturist scene painting illustrations for the Sultan. With a recent commission from the sovereign causing uproar, a murder occurs and the victim’s associates become the most likely suspects. Andrew: This novel has an intriguing narrative structure. How do you feel that impacted the novel as… Read More →