Shelves: africa , african-lit Good Morning Comrades is the delightful debut novel by Angolan author Ondjaki pen-name for Ndalu de Almeida. For this novel, which tells the coming of age story of Ndalu and his school friends, Ondjaki mined his own memories of childhood and experiences while growing up in Luanda the capital Good Morning Comrades is the delightful debut novel by Angolan author Ondjaki pen-name for Ndalu de Almeida. Seeing the world through the eyes of a growing boy, daily life, however, is preoccupied with school, games, friends and family. The parades, the power struggles between the regime and its opponents are noted but not understood and have little bearing on the daily life of the children. Nor does he question the privileges of his own family in comparison to the poverty of others in his class. They are all together and support as well as tease each other.
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Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure. In a still-childish manner Ndalu takes the world to be as he finds it, hardly aware of its absurdities, or the ways in which it differs from life elsewhere.
A major event in the book is the visit of his Aunt Dada from Portugal -- who brings not just chocolate for the kids, but even potatoes. Life is childishly full for Ndalu, every day a new day, with little carry-over from one to the next. The political situation is also just a given for the boy: beaches that can only be used by the Soviets, teachers from Cuba, having to participate in a big rally in May 1st Square.
Ondjaki just slips this kind of thing in: the boy is more excited to recount what he saw at the station, or how many dirty jokes he could get out, than the fact that they switched texts on him, or made him read a prepared statement. Ndalu reports what happens, and in this way Ondjaki does provide a lot of information about conditions physical, political, etc. The Cuban teachers will be heading home, for example, signaling a fundamental change.
But the uncertain fear that grips the country remains pervasive: the threat of an Empty Crate seen in every cloud of dust on the horizon. Good Morning Comrades is a dense, fast mix of many glimpses of Angolan life around for a child.
Bom Dia Camaradas
Bom Dia Camaradas