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The Laughing Cry

Prize-winning Congolese writer Henri Lopes creates a brilliant, ferocious burlesque of the politics of Africa — and indeed anywhere strongmen can bully or buy their way into power. This novel, already a classic of African literature, still speaks to us today. We look back at Africa’s grotesques like Idi Amin of Uganda, Bokassa of the Central African Empire or Zaire’s Mobutu, but now we must also look around us at comic-opera heads of state posturing extravagantly on our domestic stages. We need this cleansing laughter.

“Is the funny bone a literary erogenous zone? Anyone who thinks so will certainly be turned on by Henri Lopes’ The Laughing Cry … this writer has the same feel for the literary burlesque that Woody Allen has for the philosophical kvetch.” SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER

“Satirical, tender, bawdy, savage, and filled with love and hope.” WASHINGTON POST

“Mr Lopes has both the experience to give his work its grounding in reality and sufficient distance to give his contempt its cutting edge.” NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

“Beaumarchais … Diderot .. what on earth, you may ask, has the eighteenth century got to do with a political satire about contemporary Africa? . . . Lopes’ satirical style, with its mixture of ribaldry and cruelty, does hark back to the forthright age of Swift and Voltaire.” BBC WORLD SERVICE BOOK TALKS

“Superb book … done in fluent translation.” PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Cover art: original collage by Jan Brychta