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The King of Kahel

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  178 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Tierno Monenembo's The King of Kahel was originally published in France in 2008 and was the winner of the French literary prize, the prix Renaudot, which is awarded to the author of an outstanding original novel.  Loosely based on the life of Olivier de Sanderval, a man who journeyed to Guinea to build an empire by conquering the hostile region of Fouta Djallon, the book e ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published by Amazon Crossings (first published April 28th 2008)
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Jul 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Biographie romancée d'un aventurier ayant réellement existé, Olivier de Sanderval, qui fut maire en France puis roi en pays Peul.
Un personnage pittoresque comme l'atteste son parcours et auquel l'auteur, Tierno Monenembo donne une personnalité absolument excentrique, mais qui incarne également la vision des colonisateurs français "progressistes" du XIXe siècle comme Jules Ferry.
Ses aventures au Fouta Djalon nous donnent un aperçu du fonctionnement de la société peule à cette époque, tandis que s
Harry Rutherford
The King of Kahel is my book from Guinea for the Read The World challenge. It is the first book printed by AmazonCrossing, Amazon’s own publishing imprint specialising in translated literature. They say ‘AmazonCrossing uses customer feedback and other data from Amazon sites to identify exceptional works that deserve a wider, global audience.’ So this book was presumably picked up because it was a big hit in French.

It’s rather unusual among all the post-colonial literature I’ve read for the Read

I received Le Mot Juste: A Dictionary of Classical and Foreign Words and Phrases for my tenth birthday, and though I am unable to locate it in the stacks at the moment, (though I suspect that it is somewhere in the second or third row of books on the shelf in the foyer) i distinctly remember an entry for a word in Javanese (or Zulu?) that translates roughly into English as "the act of stealing everything a man owns by borrowing each of his possessions one by one and not returning them". Thi
Vicky Hunt
The Devil and a Kingdom: Friendships of Oil and Water

Four Princes, Three Armies, Two Plans, and One Lone Wolf… The King of Kahel is a complex piece of historical fiction that will transport you to the mysterious region of Fouta Djallon in the heart of West Africa, as it was before colonialization.

Fouta was a federation. Ultimate power resided in Timbo, but Fogoumba, the (mystical) religious capital, crowned the almami, voted on legislation, and declared war. Labé was a major tribal power within
I'm always on the lookout for new fiction from Africa, so when I saw this translation of a Guinean book was available I snapped it up. Aside from my interest in world literature, my grandparents lived in Conakry from 1960-62, so the country holds a particular interest for me. The novel as a form does not have a long history in Africa, and as a result, much of the African fiction available in the West focuses on the struggle for independence and the legacy of colonialism. This book goes further b ...more
Sep 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel-the-world
Aime Sanderval (Olivier de Sanderval) dreamed of going to Africa to find land that had never been seen by a white man before, so that he could set about improving the Negroes, and creating a new Versailles for France. He was determined to be a King. He believed that he could win over the Kingdom Fouta Djallon (Central Guinea) by enlightenment, not by fighting, and he was convinced if he could become one of the Fulas, they would make him a King.

Monenembo has written this wonderful historical fic
Oct 02, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: guinea
Une biographie romancée d’un aventurier qui rêvait de se tailler un royaume en Afrique ! Il y a des qualités, surtout dans la description du peuple Peul, un peuple assez étrange ne rechignant pas à couper des têtes et en même temps amateur de paperasserie. Mais le gros problème est que la moitié des points sont des points d’exclamations ! Si ! Pourquoi ? Je sais pas ! Mais c’est fatigant ! Non ?
ترجمة سيئة المترجم يخيل الي انه لم يسبق له الكتابة باللغة العربية انتج نص لا يمكن فهمه او الاستمتاع به كفاية تعذيب سلسلة الجوائز تشبه شراء البطيخ بختك يابو بخيت قبل ان تشتري كتاب من السلسلة تأكد من اسم المترجم
Mar 25, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
الرواية عبارة عن عبث في الترجمة عبث في كل شيء !!
ربما هي درس لى لحسن اختيار المترجم أولا قبل اختيار الرواية ,ومازلنا نتعلم .
قراتها كاملتاً من اجل ما دفع فيها ليس الا كتمرين على القراءة ,او في محاولة لفهم شيء !
Bob Newman
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fearless Frenchman Founds Forest Fief

We have a number of colonial tales of white men who strove to carve out kingdoms among peoples in odd corners of the world that had not yet been much influenced by the West. Kipling's "The Man Who Would Be King" does come to mind, but more impressive is the true story of the white rajahs of Sarawak, a British family dynasty that ruled a large patch on Borneo's north coast for over a century. When these tales are told, it is always from the European point of v
Nov 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I understand its purpose, but that doesn’t make it easier to stomach this “king’s” arrogance.
Clearly the author holds disdain for his subject, and unflinchingly follows him through his life ( in what I think is the most basic of narratives...perhaps also a reflection of this disdain?) made up of high-falutin aspirations which he claims is for the “evolution” of his African subjects, but which are at their root narcissistic delusions of grandeur. The hypocrisy of which is revealed by the author i
Jennifer Pletcher
Dec 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This is the story of Frenchman Olivier de Sanderval. He made his way to Guinea, Africa, in the late 1800s to conquer the empire of Fouta Djallon. The book takes us through his want to make a kingdom for himself in Guinea, and build a railroad in this part of the world. Loosley based on his real life, this book gives us a picture of what de Sanderval went through to accomplish his goals in this part of the world.

This book was fair. It was hard to follow at times, but for the most part, a good sto
Kate Throp
Apr 23, 2019 rated it liked it
A boy’s own adventure type tale that is based on the life of real 19th century explorer and dreamer Olivier de Sanderval. Having been obsessed with Africa since his childhood this scholar, inventor, explorer and heir to a fortune, decides that there is a kingdom waiting for him to take it in the highlands of what is now modern day Guinea.
The story traces his travails at home and abroad as he sets about attaining his dream.
The story is told with a light touch, it seems almost sympathetic to the
K's Bognoter
Jul 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: on-my-bookshelf
Historisk roman om den nu glemte, franske 1800-tals eventyrer Aimé Olivier de Sanderval, som satte sig for at blive konge af Fouta Djallon i det nuværende Guinea i Vestafrika – og for en kort bemærkning virkelig lykkedes med sit forehavende, ihvertfald delvist. En fascinerende fortælling, som den guineanske forfatter Tierno Monénembo imidlertid desværre kun delvist formår at omsætte til en lige så fascinerende roman.

Læs hele boganmeldelsen på K’s bognoter:
Africa BookChallenge
Happy New Year!

The first entry for this year of The Africa Book Challenge, Tierno Monénembo's The King of Kahel for Guinea is now available.

Click on the URL on the profile page to learn more about how this African author reimagined the biography of a French explorer of the territory that would be modern-day Guinea.
Leslie Ann
May 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Crazy read for my AtW challenge (Guinea). I couldn't keep track of all the Fula royalty, but it didn't matter because they were all conniving against each other. Meanwhile, Sanderval cycles through getting sick, being imprisoned, and conniving with or against the Fulas. In other words, not much character development, but the book is a fairly quick read. ...more
Sue Kozlowski
I read this book as part of my quest to read a book written by an author from each country in the world. The author of this book is from Guinea, Africa.

I did not enjoy this book and I pushed myself to finish it - I found it very tedious to read and very repetitive. It is a story based on the writings of an early French explorer, Olivier de Sanderval.

Olivier was a Frenchman who was inspired by reading books of early African explorers. He leaves his wife and child in Paris and travels to Western A
Đào Kiên
Dịch dở
Alexia Houde
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books
Read for my Postcolonialism class.
2.5, I didn't hate this book, I just don't think it was for me.
Khaled Abdelfattah
رواية تاريخية تحكي تاريخ مستعمر فرنسي اراد ان يمتلك مملكة له في الغرب الافريقي الرواية جميلة ولكن اللغة صعبة لان زمن احداث الرواية كان بدائي وصعب التخيل.
Nov 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Sweeping story about the life of a Frenchman whose dream from childhood was to become the king of Fouta Djallon. He develops a great affinity for Africa while never shedding the imperialist culture he comes from. Vivid depiction of the intersection of cultures leading to war. The narrative style is original and entertaining.
Maya Panika
Sep 30, 2010 rated it it was ok
A fictionalised account of the real-life Oliver de Sanderval’s brief soujourn as king of his own African kingdom.

The story is an interesting one, but the style constantly gets in the way of its telling. I found it overblown and over written, the humour laboured, the jokes telegraphed and there are more exclamation marks than a teenage girl’s diary.

A good story badly told.
Claire Vo
Jan 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
Would have liked this book much more if the narrator didn't sloppily make himself so apparent every few 100 pages or so. Despite the occasionally poor writing, enjoyed the story. ...more
Willa Johnson
Couldn't get into it. ...more
Sep 02, 2012 marked it as to-read
Shelves: world-extra
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
I grew weary of all the political intrigue and the unforgivable perspective of a colonist and would-be monarchist. It felt like an account written 100 years too late.
May 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cum ar fi putut arata colonizarea Africii daca europenii trimisi acolo ar fi avut un pic de bun simt.
Jul 24, 2015 added it
I didn't really read it. I just couldn't get into it. It might be a great book for someone else! ...more
Jun 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: stopped-reading
I'm a third of the way through this book and I choose to walk away; wish it had engaged me, I'd like to read more African fiction: selections, of which, seem few and far between. ...more
Khaled  Hafiry
Dec 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mama africa
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Thierno Saïdou Diallo, usually known as Tierno Monénembo (born 1947), is a Francophone Guinean novelist. Born in Guinea, he later lived in Senegal, Algeria, Morocco, and finally France since 1973. He has written eight books in all and was awarded the 2008 prix Renaudot for The King of Kahel (le Roi de Kahel).

His most noted book is said to be Pelourinho, which was set in Brazil. For the English-spe

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