Synopses & Reviews
Two friends, one a budding writer home from Europe, the other an ambitious racketeer, meet in the only nightclub, the Tram 83, in a war-torn city-state in secession, surrounded by profit-seekers of all languages and nationalities. Tram 83 plunges the reader into the modern African gold rush as cynical as it is comic and colorfully exotic, using jazz rhythms to weave a tale of human relationships in a world that has become a global village.
Fiston Mwanza Mujila (b. 1981, Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo) is a poet, dramatist, and scholar. Tram 83 is his award-winning and raved-about debut novel that caused a literary sensation when published in France in August 2014.
"In this visceral, fast-paced debut novel, acclaimed Congolese poet Mujila examines life in a central African state plagued by instability. Set initially in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lucien journeys from the 'Back-County' to an unnamed city-state (outside the Democratic Republic of Congo) with greater opportunities. Lucien moves in with Requiem, a conniving former friend and rival, and together they frequent Tram 83, the most popular bar in the city-state. At Tram 83, Lucien meets Ferdinand Malingeau, a celebrated book editor offering a chance for Lucien's work to be published. When Lucien's ambitions as a writer, Requiem's schemes, and Ferdinand's desires begin to conflict, the trio garners negative attention from a powerful and dangerous rebel general. Rapid and poetic, Mujila depicts a province where 'every day is a pitched battle.' It's a brutal landscape with regular blackouts and unreliable running water, where many hungry denizens hunt house pets and vermin for food with the same vigor they use to excavate diamonds and minerals. The central characters fight to change the paths laid before them, desperate to rebel against a fate imposed by life in a consumptive environment. Mujila succeeds in exploring themes of globalization and exploitation in a kinetic, engaging work. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
• "Stylistically quirky and unorthodox fiction from Africa...Tram 83 is the locus of those driven by ambition, desire, greed, or pleasureand in this underworld we meet quite a cast of characters." Kirkus Reviews
"Stylistically quirky and unorthodox fiction from Africa...Tram 83 is the locus of those driven by ambition, desire, greed, or pleasureand in this underworld we meet quite a cast of characters." Kirkus Reviews
"A frenetic writing style, like that of a jazz musician, gives this Africa-set novel an enthusiastic, adventurous energy . . . Tram 83 isnt for the faint of heart, but rather, its for those that have a sense of humor, an interest in seedy underbellies, and a willingness to, at times, feel a little lost in the haze of biblical imagery, flippant debauchery, free sex, and anarchy. Ezra Pound would be proud; Mujila 'made it new.'" Josh Cook, Foreword Reviews
"TRAM 83 reads like a modern, twisted The Great Gatsby . . . eccentric and somewhat disturbing, yet inclusive and universally appealing." Caitlin Thomas, Three Percent
Exceptional debut Congolese novel uses jazz rhythm to evoke the frenzied exploitation of land and people in contemporary Africa
Tram 83 plunges the reader into a modern African gold rush as cynical as it is comic and colorfully exotic. Two friends gather in the only nightclub in a war-torn city-state, surrounded by profit-seekers of all languages and nationalities. Tram 83 uses jazz rhythms to weave a tale of human relationships in a world that has become a global village.
About the Author
Fiston Mwanza Mujila was born in 1981 in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo, where he went to a catholic school before studying Literature and Human Sciences at Lubumbashi University. He now lives in Graz, Austria and is pursuing a PHD in Romance Languages. His writing has been awarded with numerous prizes, including the Gold Medal at the 6th Jeux de la Francophonie in Beirut as well as the Best Text for Theater (Preis für das beste Stück”, State Theater, Mainz) in 2010.
His poems, prose works and plays are reactions to the political turbulence that has come in the wake of the independence of the Congo and its effect on day-to-day life. His texts describe, as he says in one of his poems, a geography of hunger”: hunger for peace, freedom, and bread. His texts have been published in the original French and in translation in many journals and anthologies in several European countries, and he has been performing at readings and festivals since 2002.
Tram 83, written in French and published in August 2014 as a lead title of the "rentrée litteraire" by Éditions Métailié, is his first novel, and has been shortlisted and won numerous literary prizes in France and Austria, and has been translated into eight languages.
French to English translator, editor and writer Roland Glasser studied French and Theatre Studies at Aberystwyth University (Wales), Film and Dramatic Arts at the University of Caen (Normandy) and Advanced Theatre Practice at The Central School of Speech and Drama (London). Glasser spent a decade living in Paris, where he developed a successful career in translation, literary editing, and lighting design, while gaining extensive experience as a performer, dramaturg, producer, writer and photographer. Currently based in London, Glasser work with a wide range of international clients and collaborators in translation and theater.