Tony's Reviews > African Psycho

African Psycho by Alain Mabanckou
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's review
Apr 11, 2016

it was ok
bookshelves: setting-africa, novella
Read in January, 2016

I picked this up hoping for an interesting cross-cultural version of something akin to Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho. Alas, although this was originally published in France two years after the controversial American novel, the author has said in various interviews that although he loved Ellis's book, the only similarity lies in the title. Here, we meet an orphaned street child who has grown up to become an auto mechanic in an unnamed African country clearly based on the author's native Congo-Brazzaville. His stated ambition is to pick up the mantle of a legendary criminal/killer, who recently died. However, like any number of neurotic Woody Allen characters, he frets about details and dithers about methods to such an extent that he's rendered incapable in following in his hero's footsteps. In the end it all just becomes a bit tiresome and not particularly amusing. And speaking of tiresome, the first-person narration has a tendency to take flight in stream of consciousness chunks that must have sounded better in the original French. The most extreme example being a seven-page sentence that reads like a parody of itself. I've since heard that the book is not not one of Mabanckou's better ones, so I might give him a second chance with something else.
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Reading Progress

12/30/2015 marked as: to-read-dcpl-book
12/30/2015 marked as: to-read-library-dcpl-book
04/11/2016 marked as: read

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