Harry Rutherford's Reviews > The Radiance of the King

The Radiance of the King by Camara Laye
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
1385097
's review
May 29, 15

bookshelves: around-the-world, africa, west-africa
Read from May 27 to 28, 2015

This is a novel from 1954 about Clarence, a white man who, finding himself broke and stranded in Africa, decides to approach the king and ask him for some sort of job. Clarence’s only qualification is that he is white — which admittedly was no small thing in colonial Africa — and after he fails to contact the king, he is taken under the wing of a beggar and two boys, and begins a journey south, hoping to meet the king again later when he visits that part of the country.

It’s a dreamlike, sensual narrative; I’ve noticed before that novels from Francophone Africa (Guinea, in this case) seem to be more stylised than those from former British colonies. It echoes and subverts the tradition of white men’s adventures into darkest Africa. Africa seen through Clarence’s eyes is a world of fetid scents, impenetrable jungle, and the buttocks and breasts of the women; but he is completely ineffectual and naive, dependent on and manipulated by those around him.

My first impressions of this were really good; I enjoyed it for the characterisation and description, atmosphere, nuance. For me it didn’t sustain that level of excitement though to the end, but it was still a very good read.
Likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Radiance of the King.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

05/27 marked as: currently-reading
05/29 marked as: read
show 2 hidden updates…

No comments have been added yet.