Ondjaki was born in Luanda, Angola, in 1977. He studied in Lisbon, Portugal, and is the author of five novels, three short story collections, and various books of poems and stories for children. He has also made a documentary film, May Cherries Grow, about his native city. His books have been translated into eight languages and have earned him major literary prizes in Angola, Portugal, France, and Brazil. In 2008, Ondjaki was awarded the Grinzane for Africa Prize in the category of Best Young Writer. In 2012, the Guardian named him one of its Top Five African Writers. Twitter: @ondjaki.
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Reviews of Transparent City:
- “Ondjaki shares intertwining stories set in his hometown, Luanda, the Angolan capital, in this darkly pretty novel that begins and ends with a fire that devastates the city and is peppered with poetry and asides” – In Publishers Weekly
- “In the hours before a cataclysmic fire and a historic eclipse, a politically estranged father scours the underbelly of Luanda, Angola, for his mortally wounded son” – In World Literature Today
- “Fiction doesn’t happen to me, fiction happens in Angola and I happen to be there, and I happen to be born there. Among us, if you find another writer from Angola, you will not hear this comment, “oh that book of yours, what a powerful imagination,” no; the question is, where did you see that?!” – On Conversational Reading
- “I don’t need to use my Portuguese language to defend something or take action against something. I was born into a Portuguese language which was, and is, Angolan. But many Portuguese languages exist in Angola” – In the White Review
In a crumbling apartment block in the Angolan city of Luanda, families work, laugh, scheme, and get by. In the middle of it all is the melancholic Odonato, nostalgic for the country of his youth and searching for his lost son. As his hope drains away and the city outside his doors changes beyond all recognition, Odonato’s flesh becomes transparent and his body increasingly weightless. A captivating blend of magical realism, scathing political satire, tender comedy, and literary experimentation, Transparent City offers a gripping and joyful portrait of urban Africa unlike any yet published in English.