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Segu

Segu (Ségou, #1)Segu by Maryse Condé
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A marvelous epic story. I fell in love with the characters, grieving their sorrows, and delighting in their joys.

The novel opens in Segu, the capital of the Bambara Empire in what is now Mali in the late 18th century on the day that the first white man tries to visit the city and is turned away. The story centers on the Tagore family over three generations as they navigate rapid changes brought upon West Africa by the rise of Islam, the slave trade, and the imperial ambitions of European nations. One theme of the novel is religious belief and how that is affected by larger social changes.

I come away from the novel with a much richer understanding of West African culture and history while also having greatly enjoyed the story Condé tells.

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