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La Bastarda
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Archived | Regional Books 2020 > Sept/Oct 2020 | La Bastarda by Trifonia Melibea Obono SPOILERS

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message 1: by Anetq, Tour Operator & Guide (last edited Sep 03, 2020 09:52AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anetq | 768 comments Mod
This thread is for discussions of our Sept/Oct 2020 read of La Bastarda by Trifonia Melibea Obono - Notice that there may be SPOILERS (Find the no-spoiler thread here)
- Feel free to discuss anything you like about the book here: Here's a few questions to get you started:
How did you like the characters? The plot? The style? The portrayal of characters and their surroundings?


Orgeluse | 422 comments I finished this novella this morning. As far as its literary quality is concerned it reminded me of a YA novel. There were passages - e.g. the depiction of the grandmother in her desperation - that I thought had a humourous quality to them and I am not sure if this was intended as the story as such is a rather despairing one.
But apart from these literary flaws, I am glad to have been introduced to Equatorial Guinea with the help of this interesting novella!


Valerie (valroos) | 303 comments This was a pretty quick read. I agree that the prose was simple and the story and character construction was pretty thin. But I nonetheless find it an important novella for its daring in confronting head-on the major taboo of homosexuality in African societies and exposing the violence and restrictions imposed by patriarchal heteronormative society.


Orgeluse | 422 comments Valerie wrote: "This was a pretty quick read. I agree that the prose was simple and the story and character construction was pretty thin. But I nonetheless find it an important novella for its daring in confrontin..."

I totally agree!


message 5: by Anetq, Tour Operator & Guide (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anetq | 768 comments Mod
It read kind of like a fable or fairy tale (not the Disney versions, that the English word makes me think of, but those stories from the dark dark woods with beasts and a lot of evil) - the sort of superficial style and the almost a glossing over of really horrible events; murderous arson, all those revenge rapes and forced prostitution near the end - but maybe that is the only way to tell such terrible tales - just like Grimm's deep dark forests are tales to ward off evil and make us watch out for the bad things - telling it this way might be a way of making the readers aware of the life conditions of the LGBT(+) people - and the ordeals they get subjected to, for not being straight - without the read being just terrible witness accounts.


message 6: by Cam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cam | 95 comments I read it in a similar way to Anetq, as a form of story-telling rather than the "trauma porn" which dominates European and North American publishing choices (as eloquently critiqued by Oris Aigbokhaevbolo). I'm really glad this group nudged me into actually reading it, it had been on my shelves for a few months.


message 7: by Anetq, Tour Operator & Guide (last edited Oct 12, 2020 01:02AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anetq | 768 comments Mod
Cam wrote: "I read it in a similar way to Anetq, as a form of story-telling rather than the "trauma porn" which dominates European and North American publishing choices (as eloquently critiqued by Oris Aigbokh..."

Interesting point - hadn't heard of the critique, but it makes sense to me - is it this article? https://brittlepaper.com/2019/07/trau...


message 8: by Cam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cam | 95 comments Anetq wrote: "Cam wrote: "I read it in a similar way to Anetq, as a form of story-telling rather than the "trauma porn" which dominates European and North American publishing choices (as eloquently critiqued by ..."

Yes it is. Sorry, should have shared the link as well - thanks for doing it!


Valerie (valroos) | 303 comments Anetq wrote: "It read kind of like a fable or fairy tale (not the Disney versions, that the English word makes me think of, but those stories from the dark dark woods with beasts and a lot of evil) - the sort of..."

Your observation about it taking the form of a fairy tale makes sense - I hadn't thought of that. I certainly agree that a description of abuse and violence is not necessary in order for the reader to have an understanding of the situation people are living in or the trauma they have experienced. And I appreciate how deeply subversive the book is - not only because it is about LGBTQ+ people but also because it makes a fundamental critique of the dominant patriarchal society.


message 10: by Anetq, Tour Operator & Guide (last edited Oct 12, 2020 02:18PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anetq | 768 comments Mod
Valerie wrote: "And I appreciate how deeply subversive the book is - not only because it is about LGBTQ+ people but also because it makes a fundamental critique of the dominant patriarchal society..."
That is definitely a red thread in a lot of the African literature I've read by women - whether it is central or more peripheral background to the story. Makes for hard reading sometimes.


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