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Absinthe in Colonial Africa: "Batouala" by Rene Maran

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“You smell the smells of the village, you eat its food, you see the white man as the black man sees him, and after you have lived in the village you die there. That is all there is to the story, but when you have read it, you have seen Batouala, and that means that it is a great novel.”–Ernest Hemingway

Batouala: A True Black Novel

(FR) véritable roman négre


Absinthe in another context, as it was viewed by Native Africans.

Here are the excerpts that mention absinthe. The first from a festival:

On the ground were spread baskets of millet, manioc cakes, whole clusters ofbananas, dishfnls of caterpillars, eggs, fish, bitter tomatoes, wild asparagus. There were quantities of meats, either sun-dried or grilled over a fire — ^antelope meat, elephant meat, quarters of wart-hog and buffalo. There were the tubers that the whites despised — dazos, for example, every bit as good as their white potatoes. There were bangaos or sweet potatoes, both the red-skinned and the yellow-skin- ned sorts. There were baba's-sos or yams. There were great jars brimming over with the drink made of fermented millet or maize. And there were a few bottles of Pernod. The Pernod had been bought from the bound joudoulis (white tradesmen) and was reserved for the chiefs, head-men, and elders. 




"I am old. While you were discussing^ my tongue got dry. Let us shout less and drink more. Next to the bed and the easy-chair, Pernod is the most important invention of the bound jous. My eyesight is not so good» but I thought I noticed several bottles of absinthe. Do you mean to brood on them, Batouala?" The tension relaxed. They went into fits of laughter. Batouala himself had tears of laughter in his eyes as he hastened to satisfy the waggish old man's desire. 


About the author


A good review here


Read it online


and in French


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