Cover image for Land of many colors ; and Nanna-ya
Land of many colors ; and Nanna-ya
Condé, Maryse.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Pays mêlé. English
Publication Information:
Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xviii, 113 pages ; 21 cm
Added Title:

Format :


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Material Type
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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Land of Many Colors is set in the fictional city of Fort Pilote in the French Caribbean. It opens with the deaths of a young liberation activist and his mother in 1984. The narrator, a doctor who handles both of these cases, attempts to reconstruct the history of the family through four generations. The doctor's account illuminates the political and social complexities of race and class distinctions, the legacy of French colonialism that has spawned the movement for independence. nbsp; Set in Jamaica, Nanna-ya explores the relationships that develop between George, a well-to-do store-owner, his wife, Grace, and his lover, Joyce. Their intertwined histories touch on a variety of racial and gender themes, which are handled with uncommon insight and subtlety. Like Land of Many Colors , Nanna-ya explores the difficulty of reconstructing historical narratives and recovering the experiences of people of color in the Caribbean.

Author Notes

Born in Guadeloupe in 1937, Maryse Condé has lived in Africa and traveled throughout the world. She first won international acclaim for Children of Segu , a novel exploring the rise and fall of the Bambara Kingdom. Her other writings include the novels Tree of Life , Crossing the Mangrove , and The Last of the African Kings (Nebraska 1997). nbsp; Nicole Ball is a freelance translator living in Paris. Her translations include works by Catherine Clément. nbsp; Leyla Ezdinli is an assistant professor of French at Smith College.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Each of Conde's two wonderful new novellas describes several generations of a family during a period of political upheaval. In Land of Many Colors, a doctor in a fictional small Carribean island town witnesses the bombing death of Antoine and then the death of Antoine's mother, who dies from the shock of learning that her son has been killed. The doctor feels compelled to piece together the story of their lives, and he travels around the island to interview all who knew them. In Nanna-Ya, set in Jamaica, Condeexplores the marriage and the illicit love affair of a successful businessman who becomes obsessed with legends of a rebel slave from Jamaica's colonial past. Unhappy with his life and his marriage, he fantasizes that he is a descendant of the legendary slave and spends years working on a history of his hero, to the exclusion of all else. Condewrites with warmth and a deep understanding of the interaction between the political and personal realms. --Bonnie Johnston

Library Journal Review

These intriguing stories offer an intense look at racial and gender themes through the generations. "Land of Many Colors," set in a fictional city in the French Caribbean, immediately grips the reader with its descriptions of two deaths that reverberate through four generations as a proud people struggle for independence. The tragic story of the dead mother and son is touchingly narrated by a doctor who reconstructs their family trees, finding his own inner strengths and weaknesses along the way. In "Nanna-Ya," set in Jamaica, all the characters are given a voice in a relationship that develops between George, a well-to-do storeowner; his wife, Grace; and his lover, Joyce. Throughout, insights into the people of the Caribbean and their rich cultural history unfold. Cond‚'s (Crossing the Mangrove, LJ 3/15/95) writing is haunting and poetic. A good candidate in public libraries, especially for book groups.ÄVicki J. Cecil, Hartford City P.L., IN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.