127pp., paperback, Johannesburg, 2022
Originally published in French in 2017. Translated by the author in collaboration with John Cullen.
Novel based on real accounts of the Ebola outbreak that devastated West Africa in 2014-2016.
“Véronique Tadjo’s In the Company of Men is more than a story about Ebola. This novel, elegiac and sorrowful, is also an affirmation of the cycle of life and nature’s important place in it. What do the living owe to the dead? What do they owe to the earth, which both protects and punishes? Tadjo offers us her powerful, luminous answers in this book.” Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King
“This is an extraordinary novel for our times. Véronique Tadjo weaves a story that turns the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa into a parable of what happens when the chain that connects human beings to nature is broken. Lyrical and wrenching at the same time, In the Company of Men gives voice to the natural world and mourns the loss of the well-being that existed before the destruction of the environment and the arrival of postmodern pandemics.” Simon Gikandi, Robert Schirmer Professor of English, Princeton University
Poet, novelist, academic and artist Véronique Tadjo was born in 1955 in Paris and grew up in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. She was Chair of French and Francophone Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand from 2008 - 2015. She now divides her time between London and Abidjan. She was awarded the Literary Prize of L'Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique in 1983 and the UNICEF Prize in 1993 for the children's book Mamy Wata and the Monster. Her books include The Blind Kingdom (1991), The Shadow of Imana: Travels in the heart of Rwanda (2001), As the Crow Flies (2001) and Queen Pokou: Concerto for a sacrifice (2005), which was awarded the Grand Prix de Littérature d’Afrique Noire.