At the beginning of this masterpiece of African literature, Clarence, a white man, has been shipwrecked on the coast of Africa. Flush with self-importance, he demands to see the king, but the king has just left for the south of his realm. Traveling through an increasingly phantasmagoric landscape in the company of a beggar and two roguish boys, Clarence is gradually stripped of his pretensions, until he is sold to the royal harem as a slave. But in the end Clarence's bewildering journey is the occasion of a revelation, as he discovers the image, both shameful and beautiful, of his own humanity in the alien splendor of the king.
About the Author
Camara Laye was born in 1928 in the village of Koroussa, French Guinea. He was still in his twenties and studying engineering in France when he wrote "The Dark Child." He died in Senegal in 1980.
Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. She is the author of many novels, including "Sula", "Song of Solomon", "Beloved", and, most recently, "A Mercy". She has also received the National Book Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer Prize for her fiction.
“A classic work of modernism—a signal work in the African canon and one that every lover of literature will admire and enjoy.” —Henry Louis Gates Jr.
“One of the greatest of the African novels of the colonial period, Camara Laye’s The Radiance of the King has delighted and puzzled generations of readers inside and outside the continent. The delight is in the humor and elegance of the language and narrative. The puzzle lies in the book’s wonderfully unsettling end, which calls on us all to respond with an interpretation of our own.” —Kwame Anthony Appiah
“Allegorical, Kafkaesque and African in a unique way; it is a powerful and disturbing exploration of exile, quest and reconciliation with a power greater than logic or reason.” —The New York Times Book Review