‘Outside Servitude’: A Novel Exploring Enslavement in Mauritania

ArabLit & ArabLit Quarterly

There are only a handful of Mauritanian novels in English: one translation from French and the few novels written and self-published by Mohamed Bouya Bamba:

By July Blalack

Eight years have passed since Mohamed Bouya Bamba wrote and self-published Angels of Mauritania and the Curse of the Language, a novel which was groundbreaking in both its choice of language and in encouraging other Mauritanian writers to self-publish. While his first book hinted at ethnic and racial tensions in Mauritania through an innovative prologue where the land speaks as an observer of humanity, this topic was mostly left unexplored and unresolved. The main text of Angels of Mauritania and the Curse of the Language portrays life in Nouakchott through the struggles of one family, who try to stay together and make ends meet. In his new novella, Outside Servitude, Bamba continues writing in the social-realist vein, but now turns his…

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