Maryse Condé: “Astute Scholar with a Mighty Pen” French Guadaloupean (b.1937)

Maryse Condé’s novel Segu is set in the kingdom of Segu (1797) on the Niger river in what is mainly present-day Mali, but was once the empire of the Bambaras. Condé dedicates the book to her Bambara ancestress. The book is the story of the Traore family, Bambara royalty. We follow the lives of the patriarch, Dousika and his four sons from four different wives. The Segu of the Traores is a land of griots (storyteller singers) and villagers living in a compound sprawling with groups of conjoined huts separated by courtyards full of wooden stools, watched over by...

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