There’s assumption of the dignity of his people, descendants of the black Sudanese, their pride in their way of life. There’s rational Mohammedanism thinly . Complete summary of Camara Laye’s The Dark Child. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Dark Child. Analysis and discussion of characters in Camara Laye’s The Dark Child.

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Dark Child by Camara Laye. Alfred Darm Jones Translator. Long regarded Africa’s preeminent Francophone novelist, Laye herein marvels over his mother’s supernatural powers, his father’s distinction as the village goldsmith, and his own passage into manhood, which is marked by animistic beliefs and bloody ri.

Long daek Africa’s preeminent Francophone novelist, Laye herein marvels over his mother’s supernatural powers, his father’s distinction as the village goldsmith, and his own passage into manhood, which is marked by animistic beliefs and bloody rituals of primeval origin. Eventually, he must choose between this unique place and the academic success that lures him to distant cities.

More than autobiography of one boy, this is the universal story of sacred traditions struggling against the encroachment of a modern world. A passionate and deeply affecting record, The Dark Child is a classic of African literature. Paperbackpages. Published January 1st by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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The Dark Child Summary & Study Guide

To ask other readers questions about The Dark Childplease sign up. Lists with This Book. I didn’t really like this book. It began well, but cild plot became uninteresting.

Two entire chapters were devoted to circumcisions However, I must say tha Eh bien However, I must say that I appreciated the ending. This was a well written novel, but the plot did not interest me at all. View all 43 comments. This one stands out as unique, mostly because it is so unremarkable.

The only laje scenes are those describing ritual circumcision, and even these showed a communal event of initiation and coming-of-age rather than an act of brutality as in other books that address the subject. Injustice in society never came forward as a theme. It introduces us to several layers of Guinean society: Yet perhaps in the s, even a peaceful and unassuming literary description of African existence was an act of courage. This is a fairly short and simple autobiographical account of a boy growing up in Guinea in the s and 40s.

Camara Laye wrote it in while studying in France, and you can feel the nostalgia for his homeland.

At the start, his entire world is the ver This is a fairly short and simple autobiographical account of a boy growing up in Guinea in the s and 40s. Then it gradually expands to the rest of the concession, then to school, the town of Kourassa, then the wider country of Guinea when he goes off to study in the capital Conakry. Finally the link with childhood is severed altogether as he gets on a plane to France. The mixture of pain and excitement at each stage of growing up is beautifully rendered.

He wants to be part of his family, to follow his father as a blacksmith or his uncle as a farmer, ddark always knows that his success in school is moving him further away from that. He is being marked out for a different future, his family are sacrificing to give him something better, and he wants that, but also wants to dhild where he is. His parents, too, are caught in ,aye conflict of wanting him to succeed but knowing that his success means his departure from their lives.


Quite a bit of time is spent describing the circumcision rite, which may be of anthropological interest to some, but was for me more interesting as a symbol of the other changes he goes through in the book, the pain and fear at something new, the loss of the old, but also the anticipation of being a man, the pride he feels when he is given his own hut and his own grown-up clothes.

My copy is fromand made me realise a couple of things. The second thing I realised is that I need to start buying hardbacks — this paperback literally crumbled in my hands as I read it. Does anyone else have very old paperbacks 60s or earlier? Anyway, I enjoyed this book as an insight into a life at a moment of great change, starting in a very traditional setting and moving very quickly into different worlds.

I found it interesting and quite moving. There seems to be some disagreement about whether The Dark Child is a memoir or an autobiographical novel; my library shelves it as nonfiction, though given the abundant dialogue, the author clearly took some creative license. There are no atrocities, no violence except from bullies at schoolno political themes: Later chapters are spent chidl harvest and coming-of-age rituals.

Only toward the end does Laye leave the village to chhild. French speakers interested in African culture. I used several chapters of this book in my 4AP French classes. I have read the book many times.

Implicit Negritude in “The Dark Child” – Inquiries Journal

The book has an outlook which is unique. Camara Laye has a foot in two worlds. We see him as a boy in the villages of his father and grandmother.

He opens a window for us into a world where spirits reside in every living thing and where a snake can speak and share knowledge with the leader of a clan. He also shows us his introduction to Cchild science-based culture.

And even though the laey worlds see I used several chapters of this book in my 4AP French classes.

The Dark Child Summary & Study Guide

And even though the two worlds seem to be mutually exclusive, he does not invalidate one at the expense of the other. I found it to be thought-provoking. The book allows the reader to question almost all of the givens in the knowledge bank he or she has acquired from Western civilization. Those who read the book carefully can never fully trust their belief in the inferiority of an animistic cihld to their own. In one memorable chapter, Laye reminds us that politeness and good manners are never more important than in a small village.

Camafa shows us that the small group of people in his grandmother’s village who knew that they would always have to live and get along with each other developed a code of behavior that provided everyone with respect and dignity.

I have only read this book in French. I have no idea if the English translation laje close to capturing the essence of the book. Jan 04, Book Wormy rated it really liked it Shelves: Laye shares his childhood with the reader in an open and frank way, he lets us into his family, into his village and into his way of life. Layes childhood is an interesting mix of spiritual czmara and formal religion mixed together in a way that works and that doesn’t appear disjointed.


An almost poetical story of one boy’s childhood this is a read that would appeal to those who enjoy honest writing with an insight into other cultures. Dec 24, Anita Pomerantz rated it liked it Shelves: This memoir is an enjoyable read that is a picturesque coming of age story set in Africa.

It’s simply told without artifice or tremendous elaboration. We follow Laye’s story as he is raised by his loving parents, attends primary school, falls for his first love, and finally laue a man through a ritual circumcision.

Unfortunately, chiod book ends on a bittersweet note camaraa left me wanting more.

Nicely rendered, but not likely to be memorable. Jan 07, Elise rated it it was amazing Shelves: This book, which Darl read in one sitting, will always be close to my heart.

I identified so much with Camara Laye because of my own firsthand experience of leaving my childhood home post-Katrina, during the time of the New Orleans diaspora. His detailed, slice of life account of the enchanting lives of Muslims in the village of Kouroussa Guinea–French Africa was very moving. I can’t wait to discuss it in my “Literature of the African Diaspora” class! Fuck this fucking shit bruh. First book I’ve read entirely in French, lay I’m pretty proud of.


It was an easy enough read for someone with years of language experience. Nov 14, Ellen rated it really liked it Ccamara Smooth, leisurely read about a young man’s childhood and education in Guinea. Tinges of the supernatural balanced with the universal. Rhe have always heard rark Camara Laye, but never lyae got to read any of his writing till now.

I’m glad I did. This book, detailing the earlier part of his life in the French Gambia is simply amazing. Its writing is brilliant, and there is no doubt it is a book to last. So sad that I still don’t know much about what happened from the time he went to France for further education, but Im going to find out.

Its similarity to Ngugi’s book is that education is given a focal point in his dreams and des I have always heard of Camara Laye, but never really got to read any of his writing till now. Its similarity to Ngugi’s book is that education is given a focal point in his dreams and desires, and that is always the beginning of a good life.

I like his depiction of the African right of circumcision as a crossover between childhood and manhood, and what differentiates genius from the just good is how they make the ordinary look magical. Dec 14, Jen rated it really liked it Shelves: This is a wonderful little book. Why it is on the books to read list is a mystery to me – I thought that was meant to be a list of novels cuild this is clearly a childhood memoir.