paper 0-253-21226-X The Fortunes Of Wangrin ($39.95; paper $17.95; Nov.; 376 pp.; 0-253-33429-2; paper 0-253-21226-X). This prizewinning native African novel, first published in 1973, lampoons the failure of (French) colonialism to "civilize" tribal culture (in Mali) by celebrating the impudent upward mobility of the eponymous careerist Wangrin. He's a formally educated interpreter and bureaucrat, as well as an accomplished "trickster": a kind of Robin Hood who cheats the rich and powerful on behalf of the "primitive" people they exploit. A lively work, enriched by interpolated poems and other folk materials, despite the unfortunate intermittent presence of arch and needlessly pedantic authorial commentary.
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