Alain Mabanckou’s poetic carnival of a novel chronicles a riotous journey through the Pointe-Noire underworld in late 20th century Congo-Brazzaville. Translated by Helen Stephenson.

1970, the People’s Republic of Congo. In an orphanage near the bustling port of Pointe-Noire, Moses is terrorised by a pair of twins and, worse, the corrupt director. United against this common enemy, the three orphans escape to Pointe-Noire and join the Congolese Merry Men, a gang of petty thieves grifting among the Zairean prostitutes of the Trois-Cents quarter. But as the authorities continue to hound the Merry Men and the Trois-Cents girls, all this injustice pushes poor Moses over the edge.

Longlisted
2017 Man Booker International Prize
Published by
Serpent's Tail
Publication date