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.

The Man Booker International Prize 2017
Published by
Serpent's Tail
Publication date
Alain Mabanckou

Alain Mabanckou

About the Author

Alain Mabanckou, nicknamed ‘the African Beckett’, grew up in Pointe-Noire, Republic of Congo, and studied law in Brazzaville and Paris.
More about Alain Mabanckou

Helen Stevenson

About the Translator

Helen Stevenson is a piano teacher, writer and translator.
More about Helen Stevenson