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Un chant écarlate

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  277 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
As Mariama Ba wrote this, her second novel, she was aware that she was dying, yet she writes with crusading vigour in defence of women, as one who revels in the art of story-telling.
Paperback, 250 pages
Published 1981 by Nouvelles éditions africaines
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Sep 26, 2011 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Given that Mariam Ba wrote this book as she was dying, I wonder if that is why she managed to put in so much of how she saw her world? The African world. And this she did brilliantly; she showed, did not tell. She expertly wove in the many layers of life as an African in the modern world, exploring many themes without losing the unity of the story.

If I rated the book initially, in the first third or so, I'd have given it a 3. I got more into it as I read on, and by the time I was done it was a 5
Corvinus Maximilus
Jun 07, 2010 Corvinus Maximilus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
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Sep 03, 2011 Ruba rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
3 Sept. 2011 - To be honest, it has been a while. What I remember is that the story challenged so many preconceptions of identity...and I remember that I truly enjoyed it. Will re-read and better comment, perhaps!

11 Sept. 2011 - I have just reread this book and remember why I was so moved during the first year so many years ago. There are so many layers, like the layers of society and the often conflicting forces of progress, tradition, and culture. Every character presents a strong message, if
Nina Chachu
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Maame Prempeh
"A white woman does not enrich a family. She impoverishes it by undermining its unity"

The gospel according to Mariama Ba. I really have no sympathy for the caucascian woman in this novel. What she endured is no different from what occurred in Ba's So Long a Letter.

It's hauntingly true sadly. I've seen and witnessed it so frequent am immuned to it.

Ba is an great artist. Her weaving skills in storytelling is out of this world.
Apr 06, 2010 Felister rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
women despite the color the prestige suffers the blows and sweets of love. any one of them is vulnerable to the ills of love. this book also poses the question, are you strong enough to break through the norms of a society without breaking down?
Sep 12, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short novel packs in a great deal, exploring the ups and downs of cross-cultural relationships and the impact of society on those individuals who dare to breach the walls of conformity. You may just find it too heart-wrenching towards the end though.
Sep 07, 2013 Khulani marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Jan 17, 2017 Dione rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing story!!! very well written book that depicts the huge fear of many modern african men
Jun 16, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A deceptively thin book, this book contains a storm of huge issues in its story including gender, race, chauvinism, cultural identity, tradition vs. modernity, polygamy and post-colonial African identity. I'm sure there more issues that I missed. It's an easy read, because Ba's writing is vivid, and the plot moves swiftly. However, it is anything but an "easy" read because of the painful portrayal of chauvinism and its denigrating effect on both women and men.

Mireille, the white daughter of a F
Jul 21, 2007 Bren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dude, her name is spelled wrong on here! Mariama Ba is such a beautiful writer. i like to think its even more beautiful in french, but I wouldn't know! this book's about a relationship between a white french diplomat's daughter and a bright, poor senegalese young man who meet as teenagers and are both idealistic and political. It moves between various people's perspectives, and begins, quite wonderfully, with his childhood. The writer is sympathetic to their love, while at the same time presents ...more
May 18, 2008 Virginia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: school
I read this in one of my French literature classes while completing my minor. I'm unsure how to "star" it because, while it was powerfully written, I didn't love reading it. The story enraged me so much, I wanted to throw it against a wall at the end. Some of my classmates actually admitted to having done so. Nevertheless, I remember the plot details about as vividly as any of my favorite books.

It is a frank look at a difficult scenario - trying to make a life with clashing cultural backgrounds.
African Literature
Ousmane Gueye is from a humble Muslim family and has overcome numerous challenges to acquire education. Mireille, on the other hand is from an affluent home, and literally had everything she desired materially, while growing up. Neither the difference in their worlds, nor the animosity arising from both families towards each other, succeeds in drawing them apart.After a separation that lasted for a number of years, the two got married and settled down in Senegal. The novel, however, ends on a sa ...more
Varyanne Sika
Dec 22, 2013 Varyanne Sika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Women first, race second...In most cases.
This book made me ache for an African story in which the black man is not an asshole.
I understand that pain is powerful and stories of pain need to be told, but can't love be made more powerful than pain, can't hope be made more powerful, why do we exalt pain? Why is a story only powerful or 'real' when it is painful? Why are we telling stories of black men driving women of all races insane decade after decade. Why can't we celebrate love, happiness, unit
I believe this book was on my list from an African lit course I did not take. Still read the book and checked it out of the university library. Another student was clearly shocked by the racist attitudes of the 60s based on the notations in the margin. I expected it and I actually was somewhat surprised by how the main character changed. It was interesting to see the pull of culture on these people and I enjoyed the African perspective. Can't say I loved the book and I certainly did not think it ...more
Anne Marie
While I did not like this book that much personally, I must say the central theme of an interracial, cross-cultural marriage is used brilliantly in two ways: 1) as a way to make the trials faced by women who are both Muslim and African (with a focus specifically on Senegalese context) are marginalized by a strongly patriarchal society more easily accessible to people who grew up with a more Western background and 2) as a way to highlight some of the main social issues Ba saw problematic in Seneg ...more
Michele White
This book is interesting in its exploration of an interracial couple in Senegal in the 60s. Overall, it's pretty heartbreaking in the culture clashes, stubbornness and excuses created during the course of the relationship, but the author definitely offers some interesting insights and criticisms. I like Ba's So Long a Letter better, it's just so poignant, but this is short and worth the read.
Jul 24, 2013 Liz rated it really liked it
I read this novel in French as an American in Senegal. It's easy to see why I would have related to Mirelle of the novel, although I particularly enjoyed how Mariama Bâ pulled out the complexity of each character, to highlight the many ways this (SPOILER) couple was doomed from the start. A dynamic read on the particular challenges of multicultural romance, and the clear impact of both culture and politics on how we relate to even those most close to us.
Jan 09, 2008 Marcy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interracial relations are complicated. There are accommodations and overcompensations that occur in order to make it work. Sometimes the best efforts are hurt by our passion for their success, and sometimes desperation drives us to things outside of ourselves.

Have your tissues ready for this one...
May 17, 2012 Maggs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this about ten years ago in my bookgroup but I do remember it being evocative, provative and a tear jerker. I also thought it brave of Ba to question inter-racial relationships, the pros and the cons - issues that even up to this day are not discussed. A great read!
This book deceived me! I thought I was buying into an innocent love story, but culture and colonization got in the way! An emotionally difficult read, but fascinating nonetheless.
If you haven't read "Such a long letter" by Ba, I would recommend that over this. This is good, but the other is much stronger.
Moitreyee Mitra
quite a pessimist's point of view. does a high iq boy have to be destined for fanaticism and failure? i quite get the violence
Samantha Leighanne
To read my full review of this book, visit my blog,
Valerie Dickson
Valerie Dickson rated it really liked it
Jan 08, 2013
Said Alhadj
Said Alhadj rated it it was amazing
Oct 25, 2015
Amit rated it it was ok
Dec 03, 2015
barefoot.julie rated it really liked it
Feb 27, 2012
Kinnock rated it liked it
Mar 20, 2013
Maddy rated it really liked it
Feb 20, 2017
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Mariama Bâ (1929 – 1981) was a Senegalese author and feminist, who wrote in French. Born in Dakar, she was raised a Muslim, but at an early age came to criticise what she perceived as inequalities between the sexes resulting from [African] traditions. Raised by her traditional grandparents, she had to struggle even to gain an education, because they did not believe that girls should be taught. Bâ ...more
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