Book Reviews & Essays on Literature

The Viceroy of Ouidah, by Bruce Chatwin

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ViceroyOfQuidahThe Viceroy of Ouidah, like The High Mountains of Portugal, by Yann Martel, paints a harrowing picture of slavery in the Portuguese and Brazilian colonies in Africa. The Viceroy of Ouidah is probably the most unforgettable depiction of white men losing their minds when trying to deal with “Darkest Africa”, centuries ago, that has ever been written. Let’s just say, Africa wins out. Think Apocalyse Now’s jungles, despair and death, Africa-style. The very slim novel, a mere 160 pages in paperback, was published in 1980 and tells the story of a Brazilian who tries to run an outpost for slave trading in 1812 in Dahomey, what is now Benin, on the west coast of Africa. (Continue reading…)

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