The Most Secret Memory of Men by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr
From Other Press
LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
A gripping literary mystery in the vein of Bolaño's Savage Detectives, this coming-of-age novel unravels the fascinating life of a maligned Black author, based on Yambo Ouologuem.
The first Sub-Saharan African winner of France's top literary prize, the Goncourt.
In 2018, Diégane Latyr Faye, a young Senegalese writer in Paris, discovers a legendary book from the 1930s, The Labyrinth of Inhumanity. No one knows what became of its author, once hailed as the "Black Rimbaud," after the book caused a scandal. Enthralled by this mystery, Diégane decides to search for T.C. Elimane, going down a path that will force him to confront the great tragedies of history, from colonialism to the Holocaust.
Alongside his investigation, Diégane becomes part of a group of young African writers in Paris. Together they talk, drink, make love, philosophize about the role of exile in artistic creation. Diégane grows particularly close to two women: the seductive Siga, who holds so many secrets, and the photojournalist Aïda, impossible to pin down.
The Most Secret Memory of Men is an astonishing novel about the choice between living and writing, and the desire to transcend the divide between Africa and the West. Above all, it is an ode to literature and its timelessness.