In the Congo
Translated by Donal McLaughlin
5 x 8 inches, 256pp. January 2016
ISBN : 9780857423153
Rs 495.00 (HB)
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.
Urs Widmer (1938 – 2014) was a Swiss novelist, playwright, essayist and a short story writer. He was the co-founder of Verlag der Autoren, an author-owned publishing house focusing on texts related to the performing arts. His other works published by Seagull Books include My Mother’s Lover, In the Congo, The Blue Soda Siphon, My Father’s Book, On Life, Death and This and That and That of the Rest and Mr Adamson.
Donal McLaughlin is author of An Allergic Reaction to national Anthems and Other Stories (2009) and has specialized in translating Swiss fiction. Known for the stage version of The Reader (with Chris Dilan, 2000) and Shards (2003), the bilingual edition of the poems of Stella Rotenberg, he has also translated Widmer's My Mother's Lover (2001), My Father's Book (2012, nominated for the Best Translated Book Award 2012) and On Life, Death, and This and That of the Rest (2013), all available from Seagull Books.