Join us for a reading and discussion with Ondjaki!

Transparent City is set in a crumbling apartment block in the Angolan city of Luanda, where families work, laugh, and scheme. In the middle of it all is the melancholic Odonato, nostalgic for the socialist country of his youth and searching for his lost son. As his hope drains away, Odonato's flesh becomes transparent and his body is increasingly weightless.

A captivating blend of magical realism, scathing political satire, and literary experimentation, Transparent City is a gripping portrait of contemporary urban Southern Africa from Ondjaki, indisputably one of the continent’s most accomplished writers.

Winner of the 2013 Jose Saramago Prize
An Africa39/Unesco City of Literature 2014 African Writer Under 40
Winner of the Grinzane Prize for Best Young Writer 2010
A Guardian Top Five African Writer 2012

Praise for Transparent City

"Vibrant...Ondjaki is experimentally bold, and his prose shifts through a kaledioscope of registers, from the poetic to the political, the erotic to the absurd...Stephen Henighan's thoughtful translation has an energetic lyricism and is alive to the echoes and vestiges of the African languages that imbue Ondjaki's text...The novel begins and ends with a raging inferno, and yet it is as full of hope, appetite and libidinal energy as it is of grief and mourning."
Times Literary Supplement

"darkly pretty...peppered with poetry...These disparate stories are woven into a beautiful narrative that touches on government corruption, the privatization of water, the dangers of extracting oil for wealth, and the bastardization of religion for profit.. The novel reads like a love song to a tortured, desperately messed-up city that is undergoing remarkable transformations."
Publishers Weekly

"A lively and invigorating novel...With Transparent City, Ondjaki takes his place among the great fabulists of the past century...so rich in heart, and so startlingly fresh in structure and delivery, [he] has gifted us with a contemporary masterpiece."
Toronto Star

"The prose in which Ondjaki tells this story is deftly stylized, suggesting the hazy interconnections between the cast of this sprawling, stunning work. Over time, the plot threads begin to converge, and both the miraculous and the absurdist aspects take on tragic qualities as the novel reaches its stunning conclusion."
Words Without Borders

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.

Event date: 
Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - 4:00pm
Event address: 
Penn Book Center
130 S. 34th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Transparent City (Biblioasis International Translation #22) Cover Image
By Ondjaki, Stephen Henighan (Translator)
ISBN: 9781771961431
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Biblioasis - May 15th, 2018

Granma Nineteen and the Soviet's Secret (Biblioasis International Translation #12) Cover Image
By Ondjaki, Stephen Henighan (Translator)
ISBN: 9781927428658
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Biblioasis - June 10th, 2014

Good Morning Comrades (Biblioasis International Translation #2) Cover Image
By Ondjaki, Stephen Henighan (Translator)
ISBN: 9781897231401
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Biblioasis - March 15th, 2008

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