Woman of the Ashes

A Novel by Mia Couto

  • Published: Sep 16, 2020

The first in a trilogy about the last emperor of southern Mozambique by one of Africas most important writers Southern Mozambique, 1894. Sergeant Germano de Melo is posted to the village of Nkokolani to oversee the Portuguese conquest of territory claimed... read more

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Details of Woman of the Ashes

Exact title of the book
Woman of the Ashes
Book author
Mia Couto
ISBN
9780374715663
Book series
Sands of the Emperor
Publisher
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published
Apr 10, 2018
Language
English
Format
PDF, FB2, EPUB, MOBI
Pages
272
File size (in PDF)
2448 kB

Some brief overview of book

The first in a trilogy about the last emperor of southern Mozambique by one of Africas most important writers Southern Mozambique, 1894. Sergeant Germano de Melo is posted to the village of Nkokolani to oversee the Portuguese conquest of territory claimed by Ngungunyane, the last of the leaders of the state of Gaza, the second-largest empire led by an African. Ngungunyane has raised an army to resist colonial rule and with his warriors is slowly approaching the border village.

Desperate for help, Germano enlists Imani, a fifteen-year-old girl, to act as his interpreter. She belongs to the VaChopi tribe, one of the few who dared side with the Portuguese. But while one of her brothers fights for the Crown of Portugal, the other has chosen the African emperor.

Standing astride two kingdoms, Imani is drawn to Germano, just as he is drawn to her. But she knows that in a country haunted by violence, the only way out for a woman is to go unnoticed, as if made of shadows or ashes. Alternating between the voices of Imani and Germano, Mia Coutos Woman of the Ashes combines vivid folkloric prose with extensive historical research to give a spellbinding and unsettling account of war-torn Mozambique at the end of the nineteenth century.

About author

Couto, born in Beira, Mozambique, in 1955, is one of the most prominent writers in Portuguese-speaking Africa. After studying medicine and biology in Maputo, he worked as a journalist and headed several Mozambican national newspapers and magazines. The author of Confession of the Lioness, The Tuner of Silences, and Sleepwalking Land, among other books, Couto has been awarded the Cames Prize for Literature and the prestigious Neustadt International Prize for Literature, among other awards.

He was also shortlisted for the 2017 International DUBLIN Literary Award and was a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize in 2015. He lives in Maputo, where he works as a biologist. David Brookshaw is an emeritus professor at the School of Modern Languages at the University of Bristol.

He has translated several other books by Couto, including Confession of the Lioness, The Tuner of Silences, A River Called Time, and Sleepwalking Land.

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