"A man sits in a bar, ruminating on his own failures and conversing with an ensemble of memorable characters that pass in and out of the same space. It's archetypal stuff, but Mabanckou transforms it into a work that intimately inhabits its narrator's mind even as it makes a host of bold literary allusions, from Paul Laurence Dunbar to Eugène Ionesco. A new introduction to this edition by Uzodinma Iweala offers varied and nuanced insights into the novel's themes as well as the initial reception it received when it first appeared in translation." -Words Without Borders
In Republic of the Congo, in the town of Trois-Cents, in a bar called Credit Gone West, a former schoolteacher known as Broken Glass drinks red wine and records the stories of the bar and its regulars, including Stubborn Snail, the owner, who must battle church people, ex-alcoholics, tribal leaders, and thugs set on destroying him and his business; the Printer, who had his respectable life in France ruined by a white woman, his wife; Robinette, who could outdrink and outpiss any man until a skinny-legged stranger challenged her reign; and Broken Glass himself, whose own tale involves as much heartbreak, squalor, disappointment, and delusion. A brand-new edition of an irreverent, allusive, scatalogical, tragicomic masterpiece from one of our greatest living Francophone writers.