Transparent City by Ondjaki

Translated by Stephen Henighan

I had this book for a long time on my virtual shelf and finally got around to reading it. The content was new, to say the least!
I chose this book because it was a translated work from a country I had never read anything about or from before. I did not exactly pay attention to what I was going in for. Given some of the imagery and the language, I should have had more problems than I did with this book. There was something so honest about the people and the wild (and at most times, tragic) lives the people within the pages were leading that it was hard not to connect emotionally with the narrative.
In the city, there is one building which has more water than the residents need; a mailman who visits them has his own woes and many more such seemingly small issues. The plotline revolves around the residents and visitors to this particular building but is not limited to just that. I will not go into anything more about what this story is about because it is not about any one thing in particular. We have the poor in a country struggling to make ends meet but still living life to the fullest. They form bonds, help each other and basically – survive.
Corruption is rife in the government bodies. At least here, they are open about it. The one drawback of open corruption is that there is no answer/question that can help an average unconnected individual.
The ending is not concrete, and there are parts that probably have to be taken as metaphorical for the average poor man in Angola. All of this adds up to a very intriguing package with so many things to think about, making it worth the read. I just wish I had gotten to it sooner.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.

2 thoughts on “Transparent City by Ondjaki”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s