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Gregoire Nakobomayo, a petty criminal, has decided to kill his girlfriend Germaine. He's planned the crime for some time, but still, the act of murder requires a bit of psychological and logistical preparation. Luckily, he has a mentor to call on, the far more accomplished serial killer Angoualima. The fact that Angoualima is dead doesn't prevent Gregoire from holding lengthy conversations with him. Little by little, Gregoire interweaves Angoualima's life and criminal exploits with his own. Continuing with the plan despite a string of botched attempts, Gregoire's final shot at offing Germaine leads to an abrupt unraveling. Lauded in France for its fresh and witty style, African Psycho's inventive use of language surprises and relieves the reader by injecting humor into this disturbing subject.
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This is Taxi Driver for Africa's blank generation... a deftly ironic Grand Guignol, a pulp fiction vision of Frantz Fanon's 'wretched of the earth' that somehow manages to be both frightening and self-mocking at the same time. (Time Out, New York)
[An] auspicious debut from a francophone author who most certainly deserves to be discovered. It is smart, stylish and plenty "literary". (Globe and Mail)
Mabanckou's novel... discovers a fascinating new way to hang readers on those tenterhooks... African Psycho presents no gloomy Raskolnikov, nor the fixed sneer of Patrick Bateman, but a haunted burlesque. (The Believer)
[A] very compelling (and very well-translated) exercise in literary voice. (Publishers Weekly)
Mabanckou manages to write playfully about an alarming subject (Financial Times 2008-07-05)
A macabre but comical take on a would-be serial killer (Vanity Fair)
Disturbing - and disturbingly funny (New Yorker)
Alain Mabanckou's uproarious, fleet-footed English-language debut, reissued as a Serpent's Tail Classic to coincide with the publication of Black Moses, Mabanckou's first new novel in four years
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