"I sympathized with Tarzan"

The new issue of PEN International, the literary magazine published by International PEN, is now online. (Click on "Magazine Download" at the bottom of the page; it's a PDF file.)

The issue is called Context: Africa, and includes poems, stories, interviews, and essays in English, French, and Spanish.

In an excerpt from her debut novel, Everything Good Will Come, Sefi Atta provides a young girl's impressions of watching television in Nigeria in the late 1960s:
Television in those days didn’t come on until six o’clock in the evening. The first hour was news and I never watched the news, except that special day when the Apollo landed on the moon. After that, children in school said you could get Apollo, a form of conjunctivitis, by staring at an eclipse too long. Tarzan, Zorro, Little John, and the entire Cartwright family on Bonanza were there, with their sweet and righteous retaliations, to tell me any other fact I needed to know about the world. And oblivious to any biased messages I was receiving, I sympathised with Tarzan (those awful natives!), thought Indians were terrible people and memorised the happy jingles of foreign multinational companies: “Mobil keeps your engine – Beep, beep, king of the road.” If Alfred Hitchcock came on, I knew it was time to go to bed. Or if it was Doris Day. I couldn’t bear her song, “Que Sera”.
Everything Good Will Come received the inaugural Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa, and it comes out in paperback from the independent Interlink Books next month.

1 comment:

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