Just finished: The Viceroy of Ouidah by Bruce Chatwin

A marvellous historical novel, inspired by the story of a real 19th century Brazilian slave dealer who settled in Dahomey (now Benin), befriended its king, sired an army of children with his native wives and mistresses and sent off thousands of slaves to their deaths or lives of misery on the plantations of Brazil.

I love the style, which is rich without being cloying, and full of atmospheric descriptions. I found myself riveted and read it slowly, to savour it to the fullest.

Tempting as it it to include this book in the Global Reading Challenge as the entry for Africa, I think I will wait and choose a book by an African author for that entry. It did, however, help me cross another country off my list of countries I have visited in books.


The over-time work is done for now, foreign journalists will be quoting from the translation I was working on, and my friends and family will hopefully stop asking me what is in it because the secrecy has been lifted and they can now read it for themselves.


Popular Posts