Reading List: Post-Colonialism

reading list

July 29, 2020

Rampokan

1946: The Dutch have been driven out of Indonesia by the Japanese invasion, but they refuse to recognize the country’s declaration of independence. In an attempt to regain their former colony, the government mobilizes the Royal Dutch Indian Army. When they fail to take control, an unofficial force is sent to subdue the “terrorists.” Among the volunteers is Johan Knevel, who has personal reasons for joining: he wants to find out what happened to his Indonesian nurse. But far from rediscovering the lost idyll of his youth, he is confronted by the complex realities of a country in turmoil.

 

Malaterre

Gabriel dreams of buying back Malaterre, an estate built by his ancestors in the heart of the jungle over a century ago. Of going there, living there, and restoring the Lesaffre family honor. Of passing it on to his children. But he knows nothing about the country or managing a timber forest. He will have to risk it all, taking his two eldest with him and separating them from their mother and younger brother. All of this, of course, is completely crazy.

 

African Trilogy – 1. Once Upon A Time In Africa

No one thought he’d ever dare to return. In this African country where the dictatorship has banned all forms of cultural expression, the storyteller named Once-Upon-A-Time has already had a brush with death. For refusing to stop performing his puppet shows, he lost both his hands, severed at the wrist with the slash of a machete. Now he’s back, ready to begin performing again, and ready to take on the powers that be…

African Trilogy – 2. Turntable

Virtuoso Belgian violinist Eugène Ysaÿe is invited out to the Congo by the governor to give a concert. How could he refuse such an invitation? Eugène waves goodbye to the infamous gray Belgian skies and hops on a plane taking him to the dazzling colors of Africa. He is invited to stay a few weeks at his nephew’s house, by the stunning Lake Maï Ndombé. And that’s where he meets Turntable. Through their mutual appreciation of music, the servant and the celebrity gradually form an unlikely friendship, breaking the boundaries of convention.

 

African Trilogy – 3. A Little Piece of Her

Yu Kiang works for a Chinese lumberjack corporation in the Congo. Despite his company’s ban on its employees from frequenting the local girls, Yu has fallen for a Congolese woman, Antoinette… and, in a very different way, for Antoinette’s little daughter, Marie-Léontine. One night, in the arms of his lover, Yu discovers Antoinette’s wound: a terrible scar, an assault on her femininity. How many others are there like her, exiled from their own body, victims of a monstrous ongoing tradition? How many? 150 million. But the only thing that matters to Yu and Antoinette is that little Marie-Léontine never falls victim to the tradition that her mother had to suffer.

Black Paradise

Hans Wagner decides to move with his wife Katie and daughter Lisa from Germany to Nigeria, where he has been offered a well-paid job. The lifestyle that comes with it is a nice extra: they’ll have a housekeeper, there’s a good international school, and their daughter will even be able to join a horseriding club. However, shortly after their arrival in Lagos it turns out that life there is less paradisiacal than they’d hoped…

 

 

A Son of the Sun

Parlay is the French king of a dying island tribe and the father of the sublime Armande. He’s selling his pearls, a fortune collected from his island’s lagoon. The wealthiest traders in the Solomon Islands have been invited to the auction, except for David Grief, the Englishman the natives call the Son of the Sun. Come hell or high water—probably both—Grief will be there. And he isn’t coming for the pearls. This is a thrilling adaptation of two Jack London novellas, “A Son of the Sun” and “The Pearls of Parlay.”

 

Stevenson, The Pirate Within

This is the fascinating life story of Robert Louis Stevenson, the beloved author of classics such as “Treasure Island” and “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” from his early days as an aspiring writer to his first published works, his love affair and then marriage to Fanny Osbourne, his success as an author, his many travels across Europe and the U.S., and finally his voyage to the islands of the South Pacific, where he eventually built the house of his dreams. Stevenson never let his weak lungs (which he referred to as pirates waging a battle inside him) and delicate constitution stand in the way of his insatiable thirst for adventure, living life on his own terms until the very end.

The Aviator

This is the fascinating life story of Robert Louis Stevenson, the1917, East Africa. A German pastor—also a doctor, and married to a Frenchwoman—teaches his son Josef to fly the Albatros biplane he uses to visit his rural patients. But the war raging in Europe has spread to Africa, where the Allies are fighting the Germans in their various colonies. Against this backdrop—and strictly against his father’s wishes—Josef dreams of flying the nest, and makes a decision that will have terrible consequences…

Gauguin

Fed up with his life in France, Paul Gauguin sets out for Tahiti, where he subsequently decides to settle. As he immerses himself in the culture of a tropical country that couldn’t be more different from his own, the painter not only gains a new lease on life, but begins producing some of his most inspired work.

 

The Children

Fed up with his life in France, Paul Gauguin sets out for Tahiti, Meet the children: Airbus, with his barely contained rage, Angel, whose sweet looks belie a mercurial cruelty, and Mongol, who talks to insects and stray animals. They spend their days weaving baskets at Save the Innocents, an outreach foundation. They fantasize about the friendly blonde aid worker Anika, are wary of her blandly affable Belgian boss, and mock her short husband Recto, who speaks their language so poorly. Meanwhile, gunfire thunders daily in the hills just outside town. But when their old friend Black Domino resurfaces full of schemes and swagger, will the looming violence find an echo in the children’s hearts?

 

Header: African Trilogy – Turntable © Zidrou and Raphaël Beuchot/ Le Lombard