De houtjes van God

De houtjes van God Eerder verschenen als Storm over Dakar

  • Title: De houtjes van God
  • Author: Ousmane Sembène Anita Rebel
  • ISBN: 9789061431787
  • Page: 487
  • Format: None
  • Eerder verschenen als Storm over Dakar

    One thought on “De houtjes van God”

    1. ‘We know what France represents,’ Bakayoko said, ‘and we respect it. We are in no sense anti-French; but once again, Monsieur le directeur, this is not a question of France or of her people. It is a question of employees and their employer.’One of the tags I've been using on Tumblr with increasing frequency is 'life is politics is life.' Out of all the ideas the United States has actively worked against the most, this is easily one of the top five, because what I mean by this is not The [...]

    2. Vividly capturing the 1947-8 Dakar-Niger railway strike, God's Bit of Wood never ceases to shock, to inspire, and to ultimately shed light on an event that truly shaped the importance of the African culture. Despite its many characters and at times confusing names and places, each story of the workers and their wives, the whites and the oppressors, the beggars and the unloved, all demonstrate the immense struggle that everyone was going through during the strike and the tremendous courage it too [...]

    3. A novel about a labor strike!? In Africa?Hell yes!The novel starts slow, and introduces a gabillion characters, like a later day Dostoevsky, but the slow build up and the endless characters are necessary, since the strike is a complicated story that needs to be told with delicacy and many individuals need to be highlighted to show the collective effort and to bring home the collective AND individual plight (not to mention show us the lives of the people in order to feel their deaths, successes, [...]

    4. Ever since they had left Thiés, the women had not stopped singing. As soon as one group allowed the refrain to die, another picked it up, and new verses wereborn at the hazard of chance or inspiration, one word leading to another and each finding, in its turn, its rhythm and its place. No one was very sure any longer where the song began, or if it had an ending. It rolled out over its own length, like the movement of a serpent. It was as long as a life.A fine book, that absolutely deserves its [...]

    5. There is a bareness and sparseness to Ousmane's Senegal; a place where the people have had their humanity stripped away by their colonial oppressors; persecuted and down-trodden, the characters find themselves fighting to re-gain every aspect of what makes them human, from their language, to the culture and way of life, all of these things had been taken away by French colonists, who misguidedly viewed their exploitation as an attempt at civilisation. At the core of the novel is the labour movem [...]

    6. Sometimes foreign books in translation leave me cold, and sometimes I enjoy them although they’re quite different from the novels I’m used to reading, and it’s hard to tell in advance which books will be which. Happily, this one, written by a Senegalese author and relating the events of a labor strike in French West Africa (primarily set in what is now Senegal) in 1947-48, fell into the enjoyable category. But it is different from your standard English-language novel: it’s very much the [...]

    7. To nick an idea I picked up from an introduction to War and Peace, this book is an excellent example of an ‘open novel’. This is in opposition to the (predictably named) ‘closed novel’. These terms merely serve to describe an aspect of the continuum between fable and history. Fables are closed stories. When the protagonist is introduced, their backstory is either completely explained, or irrelevant. When the curtain closes and the story ends, every story-arc is tied up in a neat little b [...]

    8. Sadly, this book is extremely unsung. It is the African "Grapes of Wrath," in scope, politics, relevance, and in beauty of the prose. Sembene was as brilliant a film director as he was novelist. This books covers not just the events of the strike but the range of people involved, the workers, managers, and their families. Brilliant.

    9. I expected to find this boring, for it to be a chore to finish. 380 pages of quite dense French, on the topic of a railway strike in Senegal in 1948. But it's so wonderfully well written that it's not a chore, even though it's not something you fly through. And the characters! I need to find more books by this author.

    10. Before you read the book, God's Bits of Wood seems a strange title. I think it is because it is a reference that is native to West Africa. As you continue to read, you think to yourself that there was no title better than this.Sembène, my goodness! I will tell you that I was drawn into the descriptions like a scientist with magnifying glass captivated by the subjects and happenings on the slide in his hand. He's a tailor that weaves a cloth so intricate and great that this is more than skill. T [...]

    11. Shortly after WW2 the black rail workers on the Niger-Dakar line went on strike for six months. At the time, it was the longest labor strike in world history. This book is based on the events that surrounded the movement. It tells how community adapts as hunger and thirst set in. There are almost 45 characters in the book in three different settings, so the chapters become more like a set of short stories that are interconnected by the overall plot and a handful of selected characters. It is obv [...]

    12. The book is set in West Africa in a time of awakening for the African workers of the region. The story follows several strong characters and shows different ways in which they deal with the strike is a courageous tale of courageous people. The spirit that moves within this story fills me with hope that suffering creates strength to withstand anythingd eventually welcome celebration. Loss is part of lifeA beautiful study of the human spirit of endurance, and hope. Eternal and everlasting hope.

    13. Ousmane, forever the Africana feminist looked at workers strike that men thought they had under control-as always, the women were the ones that produced the final victory. Sembene continue the tradition of voicing exclusionary groups fight for equality as part of a larger social challenge. ultimately, victory is the way we treat our mothers, sisters, daughters. This point is illustrated in all his work: Xaxu, Guel War, Faat Kine

    14. It is not necessary to be right to argue, but to win it is necessary both to be right and never to falter Sembene brings to life the plight of workers in Senegal in 1947 as they fight for their rights. It is a well written account of an actual historical event, The Dakar Railway Strike which took place in October 10, 1947 to March 19, 1948.This book was recommended by my Mom who insisted that I should read it after reading Ngugi wa Thiong'o's Petals of Blood. Both books highlight workers revolut [...]

    15. I read this in translation from French. I learned a heck of a lot from this book. It takes place in the fifties when Africa was in the throes of tossing off the yoke of colonialism. The author was (perhaps still is) a labor organizer and member of the Communist Party. The story is about the effects of a strike at a French owned railway Senegal or as it was at the time French Senegal. It follows a number of people as they struggle, die and ultimately succeed in their labor action. Worth reading f [...]

    16. I use this with my students to try to teach about West Africa. I pair it with A Grain of Wheat for an East/West thing. The structure is much easier for them than A Grain of Wheat, but I'm not going to lie and say it really resonates with them. I want to bring labor history into the classroom and thought this would be a nice way to do it. It somewhat works because the story is compelling and there are interesting excursions into romance and the nature of love in Africa vs Europe. Let's face it, t [...]

    17. “Real misfortune is not just a matter of being hungry and thirsty; it is a matter of knowing that there are people who want you to be hungry and thirsty” Can't believe I'm the first to archive such an amazing quote from this book. Unbelievable story and writing to the point that I had to put it down for a while while I sorted through my angry mess. This one stuck with me for a while and still does. Makes me curl a fist. Why can't there be a history course in high school, college, graduate sc [...]

    18. The 1947–8 Dakar-Niger railway strike is known as one of the events that have truly shaped the importance of African culture. God’s Bits of Wood is a fictional piece based on the events that took place in the strike and never ceases to shock, inspire and most importantly, shed light on the events that took place.Each individual battle, success, or death was mentioned in some way, which was sometimes confusing, but necessary in order to see the collective effort of countless families who stru [...]

    19. An historical novel about the railway workers' strike on the Niger-Dakar Railroad, of the struggles between the railroad workers against their French colonial employers. Showcasing the poverty and oppression of the African workers and their families, the workers realize that they need to unite if they are to successful gain economic and social equality for themselves. This is a really powerful and lyrical work that is both disturbing as it is inspirational.

    20. This writing was fabulous- the style, the vocabulary, the pace of it- all wonderful. Obviously a remarkable book in its original French (I think it was originally written in French), but a wonderful translation, as well. So many interesting threads to discuss- I am looking forward to the book club discussion tonight.

    21. I was recently thinking about Moolaade, a really uplifting and beautiful movie I saw with my Girls Group at my old job. I had no idea that the director (Sembene Ousmane, "father of African cinema") was also a novelist. Exciting!

    22. When I went home last summer, I stole this book from my parents' library. I do not know, why I never read this book before. Its a really intense book about a workers' strike in Senegal. Its a multifaceted book which touches on the class stuggle, racism, the colonial struggle, political consciousness of the masses and host of other themes. The book was excellently written with a beautful prose. Its just one of those novels that are a must read for every African.

    23. Before reading Ousmane Sembène’s novel, I decided to read into his background a bit. I learned that he was an accomplished film director, writer, a soldier in WWII and a participant in the Dakar-Niger Railway strike. I also read that he belonged to a communist group and was a member of the communist party - that being said, I walked into the book with a certain set of expectations from it. First, I expected the book to be somewhat of a memoir. Secondly, I anticipated objective socialist langu [...]

    24. God's Bits of Wood (mellifluously titled Les Bouts de Bois de Dieu in the original French) is an unforgettable fictionalized retelling of the 1947 railway strike in French West Africa. The structure of the book is unusual. It portrays a cast of thousands spread across three cities from Dakar to Bamako, tracing the stories of not only the leaders of the strike, but also their families, communities, and the French colonial powers opposing them. Such an approach is obviously vignette-based, but Sem [...]

    25. I was looking more allegorical writing as enticed by the back cover: “Ever since they left Thies, the women had not stopped singing. As soon as one group allowed the refrain to die, another picked it up, and new verses were born at the hazard of chance or inspiration, one word leading to another and each finding, in its turn, its rhythm and its place. No one was very sure any longer where the song began, or if it had an ending. It rolled out over its own length, like the movement of a serpent. [...]

    26. This gripping novel tells the story of a railway strike in colonial West Africa. Though the strike organizers are men, the real heart of this novel comes in the story of women who often provide the revolutionary energy when the striking workers are at their weakest. As strike leaders move up and down the railway, mothers and daughters confront the material reality of a months-long strike while also directly confronting colonial authorities, culminating in a days-long march to Dakar in advance of [...]

    27. This is a novel from 1960 about the railway workers’ strike on the Niger-Dakar railway 13 years earlier.When I said in my Read The World challenge status update that I’d read 16½ books this year, this was the half book; it has taken me rather a long time to finish. Mainly I think that’s because it is written in rather a high style. Elaborate descriptions, speechifying and a general tone of Serious Business.I’m always wary of commenting on prose style for books read in translation, but i [...]

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