It's not often that non-fiction reads like magical realism, but Fisherman’s Blues by Anna Badkhen does. If you believe in dipping your hands in an ocean of plenty and with bare hands pulling out a meal, or if you believe in making offerings to the djinn that reside in a termite mound, and bringing red dirt from the termite mound to the pirogue and sprinkling the blessing into the hull of the pirogue, or if you believe in the collection and burning of hair as a charm, or if you believe in Mama Wati, West Africa's version of a mermaid, or you believe in the a blessing blown from the mouth of a praying marabout, this magical text will bring West Africa to life.
But not all is a romantic vision of the lives of fishermen. Their very real lives end with tremendous frequency. Currents carry off children, women scan the horizon for husbands, brothers, fathers, and sons. Bodies wash ashore, and in the absence of identification, are buried on the sandy beaches with no markers to signify any body is present. Pirogues run out of fuel and the fishermen are left adrift without food or water, starving to death.
With a penchant for a lyrical voice, Badkhen weaves together magic, culture, horror, marine biology, nautical language, climate change, migration, religion, economics, and history.
Come to the ISD Library on Thursday night to hear Anna Badkhen read and speak about her process as well as her experiences in Joal, Senegal.
DATE: Thursday, 3 May, 2018
TIME: 6:30pm for snacks provided by ISD
SPEAKING TIME: 7:00pm
Babysitting is available