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The African Shore - Rey Rosa, Rodrigo; Gray, Jeffrey - Yale University Press
Literary Studies
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The Margellos World Republic of Letters

The African Shore

  • Rodrigo Rey Rosa; Translated by Jeffrey Gray
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Finalist for the Best Translated Book Award organized by Three Percent, a resource for international literature based at the University of Rochester.

Shortlisted for the PEN American Center 2014 Literary Awards Translation Prize.

In the vein of the writings of Paul Bowles, Paul Theroux, and V. S. Naipaul, The African Shore marks a major new installment in the genre of dystopic travel fiction. Rodrigo Rey Rosa, prominent in today’s Guatemalan literary world and an author of growing international reputation, presents a tale of alienation, misrecognition, and intrigue set in and around Tangier. He weaves a double narrative involving a Colombian tourist pleasurably stranded in Morocco and a young shepherd who dreams of migrating to Spain and of “riches to come.” At the center of their tale is an owl both treasured and coveted.

The author addresses the anxiety, distrust, and potential for violence that characterize the border of all borders: the strait that divides Africa and Europe, where the waters of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic meet. His often-remarked prose style, at once rich and spare, endows his work with remarkable elegance. Rey Rosa generates a powerful reality within his imagined world, and he maintains a narrative tension to the haunting conclusion, raising small and large questions that linger in the reader’s mind long after the final page.

With an Afterword by Jeffrey Gray

Rodrigo Rey Rosa is a prominent member of the Guatemalan literary scene. Many of his works of fiction have been translated and internationally acclaimed, including Dust on Her Tongue, The Beggar’s Knife, and The Pelcari Project, all translated into English by the late Paul Bowles. He lives in Guatemala. Jeffrey Gray is professor of English, Seton Hall University, New Jersey. He is author of Mastery’s End: Travel and Postwar American Poetry and editor of the Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poets and Poetry.

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