So Long a Letter
Written by award-winning African novelist Mariama Bâ and translated from the original French, So Long a Letter has been recognized as one of Africa’s 100 Best Books of the 20th Century. The brief narrative, written as an extended letter, is a sequence of reminiscences —some wistful, some bitter—recounted by recently widowed Senegalese schoolteacher Ramatoulaye Fall. Addressed to a lifelong friend, Aissatou, it is a record of Ramatoulaye’s emotional struggle for survival after her husband betrayed their marriage by taking a second wife. This semi-autobiographical account is a perceptive testimony to the plight of educated and articulate Muslim women. Angered by the traditions that allow polygyny, they inhabit a social milieu dominated by attitudes and values that deny them status equal to men. Ramatoulaye hopes for a world where the best of old customs and new freedom can be combined.

Considered a classic of contemporary African women’s literature, So Long a Letter is a must-read for anyone interested in African literature and the passage from colonialism to modernism in a Muslim country.

Winner of the prestigious Noma Award for Publishing in Africa.
Reviews
“Great book to start the semester. Students easily grasped the cultural, religious, and gender issues in the novel.” — Tyrone Williams, Xavier University

“I used this novel in my African literature course and it was great. The students researched Senegal and the discussions were lively, enthusiastic, and compelled the quiet students to join in. It was a rewarding experience.” — Immaculate Kizza, University of Tennessee

“This is a beautiful new edition of a timeless classic of African literature. Ba brings the issue of polygamy into sharp, almost familiar focus for readers who might think it bizarre and safely foreign. I am pleased to see this treasure back in print.” — Catherine E. Bolten, University of Notre Dame

“I was thrilled to learn that Ba’s novel is back in print and look forward to using it in my global literature class. The book offers cultural specificity and universal concerns in an engaging, accessible form. Thank you, Waveland Press!” — Martha Greene Eads, Eastern Mennonite University

“An excellent book that should be included in all surveys of West African literature. I’ve had a lot of difficulty ordering this for my classes and am delighted to have this new edition.” — John Marson Dunaway, Mercer University

“I am very grateful to you for ensuring that this classic text remains in print!” — Simon Lewis, College of Charleston