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Waiting For an Angel [Anglais] [Broché]

Helon Habila

Prix : EUR 16,54 LIVRAISON GRATUITE En savoir plus.
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Description de l'ouvrage

28 août 2003
WAITING FOR AN ANGEL marks the debut of one of Africa's most promising new writers. Lomba is a young journalist living under military regime in Lagos, one of the most dangerous cities in the world. His mind is full of soul music and girls and thenovel he is writing. But his room-mate goes mad and is beaten up by soldiers, his first love is forced to marry a man she doesn't love, and his neighbours are planning a demo which is bound to incite riot and arrests. Lomba can no longer bury his head in the sand. He must write the truth about this reign of terror . . . WAITING FOR AN ANGEL captures the despair, the frenzy and the stubborn hope of a generation daring to speak out against one of the world's most oppressive regimes.

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Biographie de l'auteur

Helon Habila was born in 1967 in Nigeria. This is his first book.

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Dans ce livre (En savoir plus)
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In the middle of his second year in prison, Lomba got access to pencil and paper and he started a diary. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Quatrième de couverture
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Amazon.com: 4.3 étoiles sur 5  13 commentaires
15 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Days as black as pitch 11 mars 2003
Par Anna Klein - Publié sur Amazon.com
Lomba is a political prisoner in Nigeria. He used to be a student in the capital city, Lagos, but then his roommate was attacked by soldiers and went mad. He used to be in love (perhaps he still is), but then his girl married a General with money. He used to be a journalist living on Poverty Street and writing for the Dial, but then the journalists were arrested and the Dial offices burned to the ground. And so he is in prison.
WAITING FOR AN ANGEL starts out quietly sad, with Lomba already in prison, writing love poems for a prison superintendent in an effort to improve his lot. Whether he succeeds or not is speculated on but never really known, for the rest of the book is a flashback, told in first- and third-person accounts by Lomba and several others, including a 15-year-old boy sent to live with his aunt in Lagos as punishment for smoking marijuana. At times the reader learns about students fleeing their college; at other times about a small foods store and its twisted inhabitants. The jumps between time and place unfortunately do irreparable damage to the narrative's flow, but the prose is clean, the details sordid but evocative, and the desperation very real. The political unrest deepens and the death count rises as the demonstrations turn violent.
When I started reading WAITING FOR AN ANGEL, I thought the angel in question would be one of freedom, one of hope, but I was wrong. It's the Angel of Death, who makes its appearance in the second chapter -- my favorite part of the book as I have often pondered what goes through people's minds as they are attacked by mobs and soldiers in toppling countries. Helon Habila does a skilled enough job in this debut novel of fear and frustration in 1990s despot-driven Nigeria that perhaps now I know.
At the end of the narrative is an afterward describing the real-life crisis in Nigeria that fueled this small novel. Habila states that his goal was to capture the mood of those years, and in WAITING FOR AN ANGEL he has definitely outdone himself.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Important Stories, Dateline: Lagos, 1990s 14 février 2003
Par A. Ross - Publié sur Amazon.com
Had George Orwell been a young Nigerian writer in Lagos in the 1990s, this is the book he might have written. Structurally, the book is comprised of seven short stories, which are arranged out of chronological sequence and vary from third person to first person narration. The opening piece is about a young journalist who is in his second year of imprisonment for being at a antigovernment demonstration. This is the story that won Habila the 2001 Caine Prize for African Writing, yet I found it to be the most banal portion of the book. The "writer in prison" is hardly a fresh subject, especially in African literature, and Habila doesn't take it anywhere it hasn't been before. Indeed, the warden's use of him to write love poems is straight out of a bad movie. This is just the setup though, as the rest of the stories "flashback" to journalist Lomba's life before prison.
Despite various other narrators and characters, Lomba is the subject of the book, and through him one discovers its central theme: that those living under oppression can't pretend it doesn't exist, at some point they must stand up and denounce their rulers. This is unveiled through stories showing Lomba as a student, lover, struggling novelist, and arts reporter who tries his best to ignore the violence, poverty, and fear that permeate the city and country. The stories show the people around him going mad, having to compromise themselves, and being beaten by soldiers ("soja") for no reason. My own favorite section was also the longest, a 60+ page story narrated by a young country boy who is sent to Lagos to straighten up, and lives with his aunt in Lomba's old neighborhood. Eventually Lomba's mentor tells him he must stop pretending that he can live a normal life under a military dictatorship and he should be supporting those who have the courage to speak out. It's not a new message, but it is one that is evergreen.
The book is very nicely written, with clean and evocative prose that captures the harsh reality of life under the "khakiocrastry." Using real events and real places, Habila skillfully blends fact with fiction to create an important glimpse into what will soon be the world's fifth largest city. Readers should note that the book's afterword is actually best read first, as it provides background on the Nigeria's politics that are essential context for the stories-indeed, it's puzzling that wasn't placed as a preface, since that's really what it ought to be.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Wow..... 4 mars 2005
Par Just a reader - Publié sur Amazon.com
At first I was a bit skeptical about reading this book, especially after hearing about the political undertones that defined it. But really, It's a good book worth exploring. Even now, after reading the whole thing, I'm haunted by the situations of the characters and what they go through everyday of their lives. The sex, the drugs, and everything that served as a temporary get-away dwindled in the face of violence and death. I'm Nigerian myself, and have lived during those turbulent times in the Abacha regime. Horrible, let me tell you. The novel depicts this atmosphere in a beautiful way. Please read this if you want a thrilling tale that will leave you thinking and breathless. I would have given this ten stars if possible! Good job Habila!
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Highly Recommended Read 31 janvier 2005
Par N. Nwokeabia - Publié sur Amazon.com
I was quite skeptical about reading a novel about Nigeria that had been described mostly in terms of politics and prison life. That topic, I thought, had been covered ad nauseam in contemporary Nigerian literature. When would Nigerian authors begin to write about human beings living their lives as normal people? I was only convinced to pick up Helon Habila's novel after reading a short story of his in The Virginia Quarterly Review, entitled "My Uncle Ezekiel," (available online) and liking it tremendously. I thought, even if it is about politics, he writes so well, why not give it a try.

Well, Helon Habila's book is not so much about politics as it is about people caught up in dire political and socio-economic circumstances. Throughout the novel the characters always take precedence over the political matter so that we get more than passing glimpses into their lives. We begin to understand what forces beyond their control shaped their thinking, and appreciate their perseverance even in the face of the most overwhelming odds. It is a testament to Habila's strengths that such a bleak novel can be so enriching, that depictions of poverty (even of Poverty Street) do not come off as over-romanticized pleas of pity, and that in the face of it all his characters breathe, live, speak, act, fall in love, get heartbroken, wear bad wigs, and still have the courage to dream very, very big.

I immensely enjoyed Habila's depictions of Lagos, having lived there for a while in the kind of environment he was conjuring up. I liked the fact that he did not meddle in stereotypes (Prison and Dele Giwa maybe, but to good effect), and did not feel the need to censor himself the way a lot of African writers often do. Those qualities made his book all the more truthful. There were, of course, some weak spots in the novel, but they are so small I would consider them inconsequential to the overall effect of the story being told.

This novel is an ambitious one, especially for a first-timer, and considering the act of will it must have taken to write it in Lagos, with so little hope that it would eventually get published. I give Habila a resounding applause for his effort, and hope that he continues to produce more good works like this one.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 "We are dying from a lack of hope." 14 mai 2004
Par Mary Whipple - Publié sur Amazon.com
Nigeria in the 1990s was a police state with human rights abuses so staggering that the country was expelled from the Commonwealth of Nations and faced with world-wide sanctions. Setting his novel during this period, author Habila focuses on Lomba, a frustrated novelist and journalist who is now a starving political prisoner in a Lagos jail, where he has served two years without a trial. Lomba has been keeping his mind alive by writing love poems and a journal, and when the writing is discovered, the jailer persuades Lomba to write love poems for the woman he is courting.
In a series of short story-like episodes, the novel then flashes back to the years before Lomba's arrest, showing the effects of Sani Abacha's dictatorial government on the ordinary citizens of Poverty Street in Lagos, including Lomba himself, as they try to maintain some semblance of hope in an increasingly hopeless world. With no chance of getting his novel published, Lomba has taken a job writing for the Dial, for which he occasionally reports on political demonstrations. In one of these demonstrations, led by Lomba's friend Joshua, unarmed people peacefully protest the neglect of their neighborhood, only to be attacked by fifty armed riot police with tear gas and truncheons.
Horrifying depictions of everyday violence are presented with almost journalistic clarity, and Habila adds further realism by referring to well-known historical events of the time: the hanging of Ken Saro Wiwa; the death by letter bomb of Dele Giwa, the editor of Newswatch magazine; and the shooting of the wife of Moshood Abiola, Abacha's political opponent. The author's inclusion of a character named Helon Habila in the action adds further drama through the suggestion that much of the story may be autobiographical.
In this paean to the spirit of democracy, Habila celebrates the lives of those courageous speakers and writers who have refused to be silenced, even when faced with death. "Every oppressor knows," a character says, "that wherever one word is joined to another word to form a sentence, there'll be revolt." This moving study of idealistic young people refusing to give up, even when faced with threats to their lives, is an unforgettable story of the human spirit waiting for an angel--and sometimes meeting the Angel of Death. Mary Whipple
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