ATHMANI: A Novel of African Village Life by Robert Browne

ATHMANI: A Novel of African Village Life

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A short, jocular in tone, quizzical in intent, novel of Africa before it emerged narrated by a District Commissioner which is what one suspects Mr. Browne might have been. The story is told in happenstantial episodes: Athmani grows up to run away from home; to return and acquire a bicycle -- a most desirable possession; to agree to the arranged marriage to the less desirable Dora; to fall in love with Mariam -- the intended of a loathsome man -- and win her suit in court; and finally to meet his death in a calculated revenge. Interlinearly, the story -- and Athmani -- affirm the happy, unspoiled nature of the villagers with ""a kind of wisdom that is the wisdom of a people"" although, on the other hand, defending the conservative benevolence of their European protectors before the colonial still set on this part of the world. The D.C. remembers his ""merry little friend"" with a retrospective affection and a fidelity which seems longer ago than it is, chronologically or otherwise.

Pub Date: Aug. 23rd, 1972
Publisher: Stein & Day