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The Story of the Cannibal Woman
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The Story of the Cannibal Woman

3.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  93 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
One dark night in Cape Town, Roselie's husband goes out for a pack of cigarettes and never comes back. Not only is she left with unanswered questions about his violent death but she is also left without any means of support. At the urging of her housekeeper and best friend, the new widow decides to take advantage of the strange gifts she has always possessed and embarks on ...more
Hardcover, 311 pages
Published February 6th 2007 by Atria Books (first published 2003)
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I face a conundrum with this book. Its written by one of my favorite authors in a setting that I love and frequent, Capetown, South Africa. I should love this book, its intelligent, smart, full of pithy observations and acerbic wit. But the main characters, a couple consisting of a French speaking Black Antillean and a White Englishman are two of the most unlikable protagonists I've come across in a long time. The two outsiders pull no punches in their criticisms of S.A. society and others as we ...more
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Aug 13, 2009 Crystal rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
You know, I just can't get into books like this. Thanks to my good friend and writer, Christine Amsden, I've learned that there are two main categories of writing: literary and genre. This book definitely falls into a literary category, and I've come to accept that this style of writing just annoys me. I can respect fancy-smanchy prose. I'm all about expanding one's vocabulary. But to do so at the cost of telling a good story is just book-murder to me. I am in total belief that the craft of writ ...more
Well well, struggled on through this but finished nevertheless; its my own fault though I know I do not enjoy laborious literary poetic reads that meander around points until you forget the story and try to remember the characters and the backstories, the political rants and the cultural climate of post apartheid South Africa and yes it gets confusing and yes I wanted to quit multiple times after I thought I could handle it and rushed excitedly through the first eighty or so pages, but then it g ...more
Mar 21, 2013 J rated it liked it

Evocative but baffling. The hypnotic writing kept me going.

The main character is Roselie, a handsome, French-speaking black woman painter born on the Caribbean island of Gaudeloupe. She's aloof. She loves to paint, but has never made it big on the art scene. She often thinks of herself as a misfit.

Most of the book takes place in Cape Town, South Africa, where she has met and married a white Briton. (Or did she marry him? Sometimes the book s
Jul 06, 2008 Dana rated it liked it
Roselie's husband goes out late at night to a neighbourhood store and is killed. The police believe that it is not a robbery. Roselie now is left without any means of support and starts off using her talents as a clairvoyant. As Roselie starts to lead life on her own, she decides to follow in her husband's footsteps to try to solve his murder.

Life as a interracial couple is depicted with all the racism that Roselie is exposed to. Roselie also learns that Steven, her husband is not the man she th
Feb 07, 2010 Paula rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french, fiction
Conde is excellent at unraveling the labyrinthine complexity of race and its multifarious public and private consequences. Interesting portrayal of a 50 year old woman, native of Guadaloupe, now resident of the Cape in South Africa and recently "widowed" after her partner of some 20 years is murdered during a midnight foray ostensibly to buy a pack of cigarettes. Of course, all is never as it seems. That is, people are never what they seem. And the journey to discover one's self is lifelong. The ...more
Apr 03, 2015 Flexanimous rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
While the character of Roselie is sometimes frustrating in her passivity, this novel contains some beautiful writing and some trenchant observations on race, gender and place.
Aug 30, 2013 Valarie rated it really liked it
Reading Maryse Conde is hard work. Her stories are interesting but complicated. The translations that her husband writes are like poetry and include words and phrases in French and, in the case of this book, other languages as well. I don't know anyone like the main character in this story so I had a hard time connecting to her but she grew on me and I developed a sympathy toward her. I don't know how to describe what I liked and didn't like about this book without spoiling it for the next reade ...more
Aug 24, 2008 Kay rated it it was amazing
Maryse Conde never fails to enchant me, and this book about "What happens when a woman who feels she can’t get out of bed must get out of bed?" and being an alien and finding a way to live meaningfully again, and being an expat, and life in colonial remainders (Guadaloupe/South Africa), is one of my favorites of hers. I'll never forget spending 24 hours with her in Japan, enjoying her favorite Martiniquais restaurant in New York, Le Bambou, and always discovering new things she is thinking and d ...more
Aug 04, 2010 Gaelle rated it it was ok
Ceux qui ont le ventre vide ne se soucient que de le remplir.

La passion forge son propre idiome.

Il n'y a que la foi qui sauve.

La vie est un manège qui n'arrête pas de tourner. Seuls ceux qui dorment sous terre ne bougent pas de place.

Quel naif a prétendu que la vie est un long fleuve tranquille? La vie est au contraire un cours d'eau furieux, coupé de rapides, parsemé de récifs.
Sep 01, 2009 Titilayo rated it liked it
I checked out this book because the author won the Hurston/Wright award. I figured it would be an interestingly french carribean take on some sad love story. I was so off the mark. Its interesting, but the main character is flat. I think the translation from French into English may have harmed the story. The plot was well planned, it just was executed in a verbose and sometimes boring way.
Sep 27, 2015 Rea added it
I read Maryse Condé's autobigraphical novel and really enjoyed it, so when I found one of her fiction novels in the discount area of the store, I wanted to revisit her style. However, unfortunately I lost interest about half way through the novel.
Apr 20, 2015 Heather rated it it was ok
Shelves: library
I really liked the style of this novel, but the plot did not hold up, and the ending really pissed me off. Seriously, this was a four or three star book til about the last fifty pages, and then it all exploded.
Feb 25, 2009 Heather rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
This book had some beautiful moments within it, but those came from the writing, not the characters or the story. The story was meandering and slowly built to the breaking point that was dealt with far too quickly.
Nov 23, 2012 Lynn rated it did not like it
Shelves: never-finished
Could not get in to it. Beautiful sentences, but TOO many disjointed thoughts in each one. And the point of view switching was driving me nuts!
Letha Curry
Dec 09, 2007 Letha Curry rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Beautiful writing and a sympathetic character. Brought Africa to life for me.
Jul 23, 2010 Erin rated it it was ok
Not my type of book, I'm sure others would like it though.
Jun 14, 2008 Robin rated it did not like it
I just couldn't get into this book.
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Maryse Condé is a Guadeloupean, French language author of historical fiction, best known for her novel Segu. Maryse Condé was born as Maryse Boucolon at Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, the youngest of eight children. In 1953, her parents sent her to study at Lycée Fénelon and Sorbonne in Paris, where she majored in English. In 1959, she married Mamadou Condé, an Guinean actor. After graduating, she ta ...more
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