With this new novel, Elisabeth Éwonbè Moundo is confirming a personnal style with which she has been delighting us trough her previous litterary works. That means a sort of corrosive joke merged with a serious subject. The main theme brought about this time, is uncommon in current african literatures : the misadventures of a retired civil servant called Modeste who died without earning his allocation, despite all the sufferings he underwent in public offices. The title of the novel, Redemption, is part of the triptych which structures the story : Mapartland, the country whose name sufficiently portrays a system in which the quest of private interests has turned to a national pattern; Sesame, main town of the country, depicted as money, as well as a symbol of the creeping bribery which confirms the saying that « nothing can be done in Sesame without a sesame »; Redemption, the rubbish dump of Sesame, where people live in dire straits: litter, open latrines, stalls freely installed on the floor, idle youths, licentious ladies. This dark picture is supplemented by public meetings, alike greek « agoras », during which Descartes, a very intelligent madman, clears up Modeste's history while denouncing some of the common harms in Mapartland : wrong electoral process within a « tribe-party » or a party-state where the executive power itself appoints members of the electoral council, grotesque dictatorship where heavy guns are used to crush flies, system of privileges so well organised that guilty members of government feel at ease, even in prison, ritual of catch phrase which regularly create a confusion between « ethics and etiquette », traditional rulers who have become voters providers to the ruling party, specialization of vocations by the way of state tribalism, failure of the educational system. Nevertheless, Elizabeth Éwombè Moundo doesn't take a gloomy view of everything. She knows how to tell us that after the earth has cracked, there is always a promise of wintering ahead. That's why a female character in the novel warns us : « Those who hold power today, those black skins but white masks, should know that they can be the masters of the clock, but will never be the masters of time », as if she was aware of the popular wisdom : « A bird which stays for a long time on a branch prepares the stone that will let it fall ». From that aspect, couldn't the title Redemption also means that release will come out of the rabble ? Is it a way to suggest the marxist sense of catastrophe ? Is it an illustration of Gide's theory of «If the seed doesn't die... » ? In any case, we are here in Africa where the seed and plant dialectics do give rythm to seasons. Those didactic features do by no means constrain the vitality of the style. The humour that constantly spreads hilarity, the mocking onomastics as well as the hyperbolic style are as many language resources which, through entertainment, train our common sense in order to let us achieve the necessary watch task.
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