"Ahmadou Kourouma's remarkable novel is narrated by Bingo, a West African sora - storyteller and king's fool. Over the course of five nights he tells the life story of Koyaga, President and Dictator of the Gulf Coast. Orphaned at the age of seven, Koyaga grows up to be a terrible hunter; he fights mystical beasts, and is a shape-shifter, capable of changing himself into beasts and birds. He fights in the French colonial armies, in Vietnam and Algeria, but on his return he mounts a coup and becomes ruler and distator of the Gulf Coast. For thrity years he runs a corrupt but 'clean' state, surviving repeated assassination attempts and gaining support and investment from abroad. But when the 'First World' decide they no longer want to support disctatorships and call for democracy, he needs another ruse to maintain himself in power ..."
"This is a tour de force - original, irreverent, brutal, funny, poetic - in which history and myth are brilliantly evoked" -- Margaret Busby * Independent *
"A brilliant, often hilarious, political satire" * Daily Telegraph *
"A thoroughgoing indictment of the African way of leadership" * Guardian *
"Witty and wholly authentic chronicle of black African atrocity... Spellbinding" * Spectator *
"One of the most powerful, funniest and richest novels written in French this decade" * Le Nouvel Observateur *