A magical, blackly funny tapestry of a book, which, through the rise and fall of its central character, the dictator of a small imaginary former French African colony, tells the story, bitter, painful and beautiful, of modern Africa.
The story of Koyaga, dictator and president of the Gulf Coast, an imaginary former French African colony, is told by Bingo, his sora, part storyteller, part court fool. Bingo tells of Koyaga's father, born in an obscure and backward mountain tribe, which he leaves for success as a wrestler, and heroic exploits on the Somme as a French fusilier, only to die of hunger in a French colonial prison; and of Koyaga himself, a French soldier in Vietnam and Algeria, and then the leader of a coup that overthrows a shortlived post- colonial democracy. Koyaga is part an archetypal third- world dictator, part hero of a folktale- his story is told in a prose of haunting simplicity, in a novel that by turns brings to mind Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Giles Foden.
“As I shall be in west Africa for the entire summer, one book I will be taking is Waiting for the Wild Beasts to Vote... It's the story of the dictator of a fictional African country narrated by the king's fool.”
Aminatta Forna, Observer
“This is a tour de force - original, irreverent, brutal, funny, poetic - in which history and myth are brilliantly evoked”
Margaret Busby, Independent