BOOK REVIEW: Tadjo, V. (2017). En compagnie des hommes. Paris : Don Quichotte Éditions (169 pages).
Well-known for her socio-political commitment ever since her first work,
Latérite (1984), a collection of earth-bound orality-inspired poems, the Ivorian
writer, Véronique Tadjo, has just come out with a novel, En compagnie des
hommes (“In the company of humans”), on the Ebola pandemic that ravaged
Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone from 2014 to 2016. The narrative tracks the
quinary evolution of the epidemic from incubation to temporary resolution
through the prodomal stage, acute stage, and intervention. The title can be
understood in at least five ways. First, the invitation of the virus by humans into
their fold, through the hunting and consumption of bats. Two, the humanization
of the virus. Three, the anthropomorphization of Nature, the Baobab, and the
Bat. Four, the mobilization of teams of actors, both local and international,
to confront the pandemic. Five, the union of humans and non-humans for the
protection of nature.
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