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Albert Russo

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Books
· Zapinette Baguette and Tagliatelle

· Eur-African Exiles

· Leodine of the Belgian Congo

· Adopted by an American Homosexual in the Belgian Congo

· Princes and Gods

· I-sraeli Syndrome

· Rome, my sibling, my empress

· Ode to Mamica mia, Mother beloved

· Mother beloved, Mamica mia

· Au naturel / born naked


Short Stories
· The age of the pearl

· Lebensborn

· New York Bonus

· The spell of Mayaland

· Fast food Lisette

· Souk Secrets

· Spirit of Tar


Articles
· The writer as a chameleon - bilingualism in three continents

· Crisis and creativity in the new literatures in English


Poetry
· To my fellow poets

· Pixel power, from his book, CWS2

· Lost identity

· Emotionally trashed

· Remembrance of a corrected past

· The little things that add up in life

· Cormorant of Yangshuo, from his book Futureyes

· Call of the Falasha, from his book Futureyes

· Now, then and forever, from his book CWS2

· Choo-choo boy, from his book CWS2 (The Crowded World of Solitude, volume2)

         More poetry...
News
· Life Achievement Award for Literature

· fiction, poetry and photo books by Albert Russo

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Books by Albert Russo
The Quatuor of African Novels in a single ebook
by Albert Russo   

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Books by Albert Russo
· Adopted by an American Homosexual in the Belgian Congo
· Princes and Gods
· Leodine of the Belgian Congo
· Eur-African Exiles
· Zapinette Baguette and Tagliatelle
       >> View all 67

Category: 

Historical Fiction

Publisher:  l'Aleph Type:  Fiction
Pages: 

682

Copyright:  June 2014 ISBN-13:  9789187751448


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www.albertrusso.com
Quatuor of African Novels by Albert Russo

The African Quatuor of Albert Russo includes the author’s award-winning novels set in the former Belgian Congo and Rwanda-Urundi, with historical facts which will surprise the English-speaking readers who are only aware of the often distorted reports they gather in today’s media, that do not differentiate between the cruel era of King Léopold II and the Belgian Congo, created in 1908, after the international scandal.

 The African Quatuor of Albert Russo includes the author’s award-winning novels set in the former Belgian Congo and Rwanda-Urundi, with historical facts which will surprise the English-speaking readers who are only aware of the often distorted reports they gather in today’s media, that do not differentiate between the cruel era of King Léopold II and the Belgian Congo, created in 1908, after the international scandal.  

 

Note of the Author: I’d like to stress the fact that these four novels take place in countries where I have lived for 17 years: Congo / Zaïre, Rwanda and Burundi, three countries administered by Belgium, that have been in the news recently for their current and past tragedies: the 1994 Rwandan genocide in which about a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus have been murdered withing the space of 100 days; Burundi, which has the same Hutu-Tutsi problem and where hundreds of thousands of people have been slaughterred, and, finally, Congo / Zaïre (DRC), where 5 to 6 million people - some even mention 7 or 8 million - have died within the last 10 years in internecine feuds, especially in its two eastern provinces of Kivu, as well as between the government’s armies and the rebels, each side supported by soldiers of several African countries (Angola, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Rwanda, etc) and, this in spite of the UN having placed the largest number of men anywhere, costing the world community billions of dollars, the result being that there are continuing killings, rapes (by rebels and soldiers of all sides) and the displacement of millions of refugees. 

I should also specify that I have lived and gone to school with Congolese, Tutsis and Hutus for at least 6 years (up to my baccalaureate) and thus have a real knowledge of their plight. My mother who was raised in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and who still has relatives there, used to bring her family (my father and their three children) every year to that beautiful country, during our three-month school vacations. That nation, and especially its wonderfully peaceful people, have been half destroyed by its present dictator, with the consequence that out of a population of 12 million, 4 million have had to flee to South Africa in order to sustain themselves, when Zimbabwe had everything to offer them, in every way: food in abundance, mineral resources and excellent infrastructure. 

This being said, I also recognize that Ian Smith, the last colonial Prime Minister of Rhodesia, had a disastrous effect on the country, causing the bloody seven-year war which led to Independence and to the rise of Mugabe.

I have lived through 4 decolonializations, three of them extremely painful (I count the fall of the apartheid regime in South Africa as one too, but in this case we must admit that the transition was miraculous, thanks to the extraordinary intervention of Nelson Mandela and to his humanitarian rule - a third of my maternal family still resides there).

To end this chapter, I wish to insist on the fact that, apart from the Sorbonne, the Catholic University of Paris, and the University of Trier, Germany (where ‘Le Cap des Illusions’, my apartheid novel was studied and discussed, and which was banned in South Africa during the apartheid regime), all my African novels are being currently studied at the University of Lubumbashi, (Katanga province, Congo / Zaïre) by students of history and of literature, which makes me especially proud, inasmuch as my poems and other writings are constantly published in anthologies with my Congolese brothers, the last one, bearing the title ‘Les Voix du Congo’, published by ‘Le Cri’, in Belgium.

 

Excerpt
The letter Leopold writes to his father in the novel

ADOPTED BY AN AMERICAN HOMOSEXUAL
IN THE BELGIAN CONGO


Dear Papa,

A question has been haunting me lately. At first I thought I could keep it to myself but now I have nightmares about it. You told me to open my heart to you in case I had any doubts.
Well, I don’t know what to call it and each time I have wanted to approach you I have had to back out at the last moment, feeling it would be to no avail.
Yet, as the days have gone by the question has began to weigh unbearably upon me, papa. Why did you adopt me? Wouldn’t it have been... wiser if you had had a white boy for a son? Sometimes I ask myself whether I deserve you, then when I think of Mama Malkia I feel terribly grateful that she should be with us. And yet, there is this weight I’ve mentioned. It’s like a boulder in my chest, a boulder that is hollow inside. Something there is missing, papa, something I cannot pinpoint. Until recently I believed that I should deem myself lucky to go to school with European boys, to live in such a wonderful home.
But the others, papa, they don’t treat me like a European and I shall never be one. Am I not half Congolese? Then why do I feel a total stranger among blacks, with the exception, of course, of Mama Malkia?
It seems ridiculous but last night in my prayers I pleaded God to work a miracle on me, yes papa I wished I were wholly of one race and not a café-au-lait. In body and soul I feel so...inappropriate, so unachieved. These are perhaps the wrong words but you do see what I mean, don’t you?
The other day I thought it would be simpler for all of us if I disappeared. But I am a coward, Papa, I am afraid of what might happen to me and it is true that I don’t ever want to lose you.
It’s funny but as I write this letter I have the impression my pen is being guided by someone else, another me (?) I am meeting for the first time.
Is it the voice of my real mother or that of the father I have never seen? Whom do I resemble? For sure, I’m not bound to hear: “Léo, you’re the spit and image of your American granddad.”
Just don’t laugh! Papa, is granddad the reason why you left the United States?
You did tell me once, a long time ago, that an unloving parent was ten times worse than no parent at all. Does he really...hate you? Even today? Because of how you are? Won’t I also ever get married? Oh papa, forgive me, I don’t know what pushes me to ask you all this. My mind is so hazy. Help me put some order in it.
One thing I have absolutely no doubt about. I shall always remain

your son Léopold

Professional Reviews
several book review excerpts
World Literature Today: “In Léodine of the Belgian Congo, the reader will find, as in the thre other novels, Princes and Gods, Eur-African Exiles and Adopted by an American in the Belgian Congo, many poignant and delightful passages, especially in the journeys across the magnificent Kivu province, which today, along with bordering Rwanda and Burundi, has been scarred by fratricidal wars. That Leodine, in the opening novel, happens to be an adolescent, as was Leopold in Adopted by an American in the Belgian Congo, isn’t fortuitous, for it is at that vulnerable period of one’s life that one’s personality takes form. In Albert Russo’s Africa you will find humankind’s infinite diversity and, amid such richness, a quest for the deep self.”

James Baldwin's words to the author, penned the year of his death: «I like your work very much indeed. It has a very gentle surface and a savage under-tow. You're a dangerous man.»

Edmund White: «Albert Russo has recreated through a young African boy's joys and struggles many of the tensions of modern life, straight and gay, black and white, third world and first ... all of these tensions underlie this story of a biracial child adopted by a benevolent American. Adopted by an American in the Belgian Congo is a non-stop, gripping read!»

Vers L'Avenir, Belgium: ... To tell a story is an art. It is an art which Albert Russo possesses. And the reader's attention is sustained, unflaggingly, throughout the novel's 258 pages. The author succeeds in being heeded like those Bantu storytellers who, deep inside the bush, recount tragic or fantastic tales inherited from the old oral tradition.»

La Liberté / Dimanche, Switzerland: «...born and raised in Zaire, Albert Russo masterfully depicts a world which is so particular, with its customs and mores, its atmosphere and its passions, a totally different way of life. What he has achieved here is almost a piece of ethnology.»

Jeune Afrique: «... Largely autobiographical, this work is written in the manner of an exorcism, it is engrossing and reveals a very real talent.»

Mwanga (Congo / Zaire / DRC): «... a work of universal appeal ... the human message is the 'fetish' which vibrates in the author's book.»


Albert Russo’s work has been praised by James Baldwin, Pierre Emmanuel (French poet - Académie Française), Douglas Parmée (world-renowned translator - Cambridge University), Paul Willems (poet, playwright - Académie Royale de Belgique - and former curator of the Brussels Royal Museum of Art), Edmund White (writer and gay activist), and others. His work has been translated in a dozen languages. His award-winning African novels and his hilarious Zapinette series have appeared on both sides of the Atlantic, In India and in South Africa. He sat on the panel of the prestigious Neustadt Prize for Literature, which often leads to the Nobel Prize.




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