n English in Africa - "The Seduction of Ash :" Mia Couto's "The Day Mabata-bata Exploded" and "The Bird-Dreaming Baobab"

Volume 41, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0376-8902



Chesca Long-Innes argues that Mia Couto's installation of the fantastic in his short story collection, , may best be understood "not so much as a product of any 'magical realist' poetics, but as 'naturalised,' or motivated as a function of the collective neurosis of a [Mozambican] society traumatised by its continuing history of poverty and extreme violence". Couto's use of the fantastic, she adds, encompasses both empirical and psychic reality, and both are characterised by instability and elusiveness. The collection, she then maintains, constitutes a reinvention or reimagining of subjective realities constructed and perpetuated by the social trauma underpinning what she terms the "psycho-pathology of post-colonial Mozambique, in which the society as a whole is [. . .] caught in the grip of a profound depression or melancholia".

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