The novel, oddly translated as “Black Moses”, when in French it’s called “Little Pepper” after the main character’s nickname (instead of his friend’s, as in the English version) tells about a boy who runs away from an orphanage, grows up and descends into madness. Told against the backdrop of the political and social events of Congo Brazzaville across the last half-century, it’s a peculiar, rich narrative.
I adore Alain Mabanckou but, like many others who know his prose, found this book to be underwritten. To some extent I understand that the brevity and lack of detail in the latest third of the book is due to the character’s condition, however, it just seemed like certain opportunities had been missed and left undiscovered. I did, however, still enjoy it a lot. It’s very worth reading if for the BLACK CAT part of the narrative alone.
Black Moses by Alain Mabanckou
Translated from French by Helen Stevenson
Published by The New Press in 2015