Ondjaki’s Transparent City (trans. Stephen Henighan) hit shelves in Canada and the US last week and reviewers are raving. Named a Vanity Fair Hot Type Book in April, May has brought a beautiful bouquet comprised of Times Literary Supplement, Toronto Star, and Globe and Mail blooms.
In a review for TLS, reviewer Alev Adil called the novel “Vibrant” and praised Ondjaki’s bold experimentation: “His prose shifts through a kaledioscope of registers, from the poetic to the political, the erotic to the absurd…Stephen Henighan’s thoughtful translation has an energetic lyricism and is alive to the echoes and vestiges of the African languages that imbue Ondjaki’s text…The novel begins and ends with a raging inferno, and yet it is as full of hope, appetite and libidinal energy as it is of grief and mourning.”
Here at home, Trevor Corkum sang similar praises in the Toronto Star: “a lively and invigorating novel…With Transparent City, Ondjaki takes his place among the great fabulists of the past century…so rich in heart, and so startlingly fresh in structure and delivery, [he] has gifted us with a contemporary masterpiece.”
Finally, for The Globe & Mail, Jade Colbert included Transparent City on their “What’s hot to read in translation” roundup.
A captivating blend of magical realism, scathing political satire, and literary experimentation, Transparent City is a gripping portrait of contemporary urban Southern Africa from Ondjaki, indisputably one of the continent’s most accomplished writers. Originally published as Slow Red, Stephen Henighan’s superb translation brings it to English readers for the first time.