World Lit Up

An alcoholic jots down stories about his favorite bar, the joint’s patrons and his own muddled life.

Country Focus: Republic of the Congo

Broken Glass
By Alain Mabanckou
Translated by Helen Stevenson
Originally published as Verre casséby Éditions du Seuil, 2010.
My edition: Soft Skull, 2010.
165 pgs.

Genre: Fiction
Time period:

World Lit Up Rating:
(On a scale of 1-5, with 1 book = turned off and 5 books = lit up)


A nearly permanent resident of the bar Credit Gone West, Broken Glass fills his time drinking glasses of Sovinco Red and eating plates of bicycle chicken.  He’s presented with a new diversion when the bar’s owner, Stubborn Snail, gives the ex-teacher a notebook and tells him to write “a book about us, a book about this place, there’s no other place like it on earth.”  Stubborn Snail is not exaggerating; the bar’s opening…

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