Ondjaki’s novel Transparent City is a work of magical realism that takes place in Luanda, Angola. Transparent City explores the destructive effects of modernization on the city of Luanda by following the stories of several families living in a decrepit apartment building in the city. Throughout the novel, corrupt government officials concoct plans to drill for oil and exploit the city of Luanda and its inhabitants by destroying the city in order to amass personal wealth. As the political entities of Luanda begin to execute their plans, the city begins to change, and readers get a taste of the effects of this change through characters like the main character, Odonato. Odonato undergoes a physical transformation into a transparent being as the novel progresses. Odonato’s physical transformation serves as an apt metaphor for the city of Luanda and how the changes in Luanda are rendering the poor transparent and leaving the inhabitants of Luanda yearning for the past.
I highly recommend this book for its brilliant storyline that melds the destructive effects of colonization and corrupt political systems with whimsical elements of magic realism. Ondjaki’s poetic writing, coupled with the brilliant storyline, make Transparent City unlike any book I’ve ever read, I wouldn’t be surprised if this novel sets the trajectory for the future of Angolan literature.
|Author||Ondjaki • Stephen Henighan, Translator|
|Page Count||400 pages|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|