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Other titles in the CARAF Books: Caribbean and African Literature Translated from French series:
The Little Peul (CARAF Books: Caribbean and African Literature Translated from French)by Mariama Barry
Synopses & Reviews
Born in Dakar but of Guinean origin, Mariama Barry claims both Senegal and Guinea as her countries. This dual background lends her significant and widespread visibility not only because she is the first woman writer of Guinea to have gained extensive international recognition but also because Senegalese women novelists were the first African women writing in French to win international acclaim.
Barry's first autobiographical novel, La Petite Peule (2000) is the story of an early Peul childhood, spent in Senegal. The Peul are a primarily nomadic people of western Africa. The book opens with a description of the violence and trauma of a young girl's excision at age six. This is but the first of many trials. After a younger brother is almost killed by a truck, the family moves to La Medina, a Dakar neighborhood where rats gnaw on children's toes at night and where children must struggle with adults in order to fetch water or use the communal toilet. Attending school is the one high point in the little Peul's life, but even there she must stand up to older bullies. During an unexpected hospitalization, the nuns recognize Peul's talent and suggest that she go to appear on a radio program where children recite poetry. Peul takes the suggestion and goes to the radio station without Mama's permission. Neighborhood fame saves her from maternal retribution. Family life is completely upset when Mama takes the youngest child and walks out abruptly, leaving leaving Peul to clean, cook, and care for her younger brothers. Peul's studies suffer. Unable to cope with five children and failing business as a neighborhood vendor, Papa withdraws Peul from school and takes the family to his mother's village in mountainous northern Guinea. Peul reacts against the idea that women should accept suffering and subjugation to men. At a tender age, she experiences great indignation that children have no rights and that parents lie to or desert their own children. She is determined to direct her own life and assert her right to do so.
CARAF Books: Caribbean and African Literature Translated from the French
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