The Joyful Song of the Partridge (Paperback)

The Joyful Song of the Partridge By Paulina Chiziane, David Brookshaw (Translated by) Cover Image
By Paulina Chiziane, David Brookshaw (Translated by)
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A roiling chronicle of motherhood and colonization from a writer who “alternates between a dramatic, high-octane style and a terse and humorous frankness” (Sheila Heti)

Recipient of the 2021 Camões Prize, the most important award for literature in the Portuguese language

A potent whirl of history, mythology, and grapevine chatter, The Joyful Song of the Partridge absorbs readers into its many hiding places and along the wandering paths of its principal characters, whose stark words will stay with you long after the journey is done.

No one knows where Maria des Dores came from. Did she ride in on the armored spines of crocodiles, was she carried many miles in the jaws of fish?

The only clear fact is that she is here, sitting naked in the river bordering a town where nothing ever happens.

The townspeople murmur restlessly that she is possessed by perverse impulses. They interpret her arrival as an omen of crop failure or, in more hopeful tones, a sign that womankind will soon seize power from the greedy hands of men.

As The Joyful Song of the Partridge unfolds, Paulina Chiziane spirals back in time to Maria’s true origins: the days of Maria’s mother and father when the pressure to assimilate in Portuguese-controlled Mozambique formed a distorting bond on the lives of black Mozambicans.

About the Author

Paulina Chiziane, born in 1955, studied Linguistics in Maputo and published her first novel, Balada de Amor ao Vento, after Mozambique gained independence in 1990. It was the first novel published by a Mozambican woman. Chiziane prefers to consider herself a storyteller rather than a novelist, and bases her work on the rich heritage of the oral tradition. In 2021, she won the Camões Prize, the world’s most important distinction in the Portuguese language.

Translator David Brookshaw is a professor emeritus at the University of Bristol, England. He has published widely in the field of Brazilian and Lusophone postcolonial studies, and has also translated the work of various authors from Portuguese, including Mia Couto’s Confession of the Lioness and Onésimo Almeida’s Tales from the Tenth Island. He has also compiled an anthology of stories by the Portuguese writer José Rodrigues Miguéis, The Polyhedric Mirror.

Praise For…

"Chiziane, the first Mozambican woman to publish a novel after the country gained independence in 1990 . . . takes up the story of an unfortunate woman’s parents, born into poverty while the country is under Portuguese rule . . . The cruel racial hierarchy of colonization, internalized, plays out within the microcosm of her family . . . A story ultimately about Mozambique itself, and the struggles and hopes of its people.” Kirkus Reviews

"In The Joyful Song of the Patridge, sanity confronts lunacy. Through mythmaking and demystification, Paulina Chiziane turns the tragedy of tradition into decolonial fantasies of national reconciliation, reconstruction of history, and magical female empowerment. Beyond a collector of memories, Paulina Chiziane recounts Mozambican past with the fervent tranquility of a modern visionary and griot. — Niyi Afolabi

Product Details
ISBN: 9781953861689
ISBN-10: 1953861687
Publisher: Archipelago
Publication Date: May 28th, 2024
Pages: 485
Language: English