Kuno, a male nurse in a Swiss retirement home, has a new inmate: his father. In the confines of their new home, the pair does something surprising—they finally begin to talk. Kuno had always regarded his father as a boring man without a history or a destiny, until they are thrust together and he learns that his father risked his life in the war. Stunned, Kuno embarks on a journey into his own psyche, taking him to the depths of the Congo. Here, longings awaken and dreams come true—rays of light in the darkness, meetings with kings, seductive women, and the songs of the jungle. This alluring far-away place he once regarded as the heart of darkness suddenly becomes an exciting locale of lunacy, wildness, and tests of inner strength. In Urs Widmer’s characteristic style, In the Congo is a riveting yarn, threading through not only the relationship between a father and son, but that of Africa and Europe. Translated by Donal McLaughlin, this novel will delight Widmer fans the world over and will turn our notions of colonialism on their heads.
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About the Contributors
The author (1938-2014) was a Swiss novelist, playwright, essayist, and short story writer and the cofounder of Verlag der Autoren, an author-owned publishing house focusing on texts related to the performing arts. His other books include The Blue Soda Siphon and My Father’s Book.
The translator has translated over 100 writers for the New Swiss Writing anthologies (2008-2011). For Seagull Books, he has translated several books by Urs Widmer as well as Abbas Khider’s The Village Indian and Monica Cantieni’s The Encyclopaedia of Good Reasons.
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