GOD'S BITS OF WOOD by Sembene Ousmane


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This is a strong, cool novel by an African which centers on a railroad strike by Negro workers in and around Dakar. With little background, either of customs or politics, it presents simply a human record of the characters and violent events involved and avoids bitterness. The strike, which begins among the extremely poor, underpaid Africans who live in shanty towns around Dakar, soon leads to riots. Women and children are killed. Then the town water is cut off and danger sets in, among the strikers' families. A ram, belonging to a rich African, is seized and slaughtered and occasions further arrests. The adolescent boys steal the white men's chickens and smash windows; three are shot. The women, driven from their subservient customary roles, attack the native police and finally, in desperation, march to Dakar Meanwhile, after bargaining with the white, the strike is finally won at the cost of many lives, and the status of black and white has become more equal.... It is a powerful story, and so filled with people and the effect of the strike on their private lives, that it reads like a family history; a sombre account of people bound together by blood, friendship and habit in a ferocious struggle for future existence.

Pub Date: Aug. 17th, 1962
ISBN: 0435909592
Publisher: Doubleday