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So Long a Letter

By Leola Norman, Seattle / June 24, 2009



So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba is a spectacular book. Ramatoulaye is a widow when the novel begins.  Because of her present grief and her past sadnesses she writes a lengthy letter to her best friend, Assiatou.Her friend has a listening ear and a caring heart. In this letter to Aissatou, Ramatoulaye gives details about her marriage to Madou Fall. This lengthy letter is  a flashback in time. Both Aissatou and Ramatoulaye have  faced ian dentical situation with their husbands.  However, each woman chose a different way to handle new circumstances. I adored the book for so many reasons. I loved the friendship between the two African women. I enjoyed learning about the West African culture and I liked learning more about the African male. At the last page, I had my pen ready to write down other titles by Mariama Ba. Unfortunately, this is her first and last novel. Ba died tragically in 1981 in Dakar after a long illness, just before her second novel, "Le Chant Ecarlate," appeared. "So Long A Letter" by Mariamb Ba is translated from the French by Modupe Bode-Thomas.

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