King Lazarus by Mongo Beti
Like its predecessor, Mission to Kala, Mongo Beti’s new novel King Lazarus centres round the changing customs and mores of a Bantu tribe under French administration. The year is 1948: the hereditary Chief of the Essazam clan is, to all appearances, dying. As his life has been one long round of eating, drinking, and nocturnal exercises among his twenty-three wives, this is not, perhaps, altogether surprising. But his illness worries the Administration: he is a staunch prop of the European Establishment. An even more dangerous situation is produced when the Chief, against all expectations, very suddenly recovers — and the local Roman Catholic missionary, Le Guen, persuades him to renounce his tribal ways and adopt Christianity.
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