THE BEAUTYFUL ONES ARE NOT YET BORN by Ayi Kwei Armah

THE BEAUTYFUL ONES ARE NOT YET BORN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In the groping stretch between colonialism and a strong national identity one of the natural attitudes is a sour malaise. This young Ghanian author has caught the vanishing ends of two worlds in a bitter, acerbic novel of one man's spiritual trials in a new West African nation. The exploitative, crushing rule of the white colonists is ever a fresh memory--the house on the hill from which little African boys were routed by dogs and weapons. Just as oppressive, however, are the new rulers of the country--""black (men) trying at all points to be the dark ghost of Europeans,"" men whose flight away from blackness into whiteness can only mean that their power comes from ""white masters."" The anonymous narrator, a railroad clerk, sadly contemplates the materialistic yearnings of his wife and his termagant mother-in-law. Yet he will not accept bribes, be overpowered by a former friend, now a Westernized official--Koomson, of the glittering wife, the appliance-filled apartment. But the regime is overthrown, and the man helps Koomson escape. The bitter knowledge of his teacher (symbolically, truthfully, ""the naked man""), and his own awareness of a constricting future lead to the tired hope that the Beautyful Ones will come hereafter. A strong, tight, efficient novel--urgent and relevant.

Pub Date: June 13th, 1968
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin