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Explication of the Night (Explication de la nuit)



Original Language: French (Canada) | 240 pp. | Fall 2013

2 Seas Represents: Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, and English (USA) rights.


Ito Baraka will die. In Gatineau, away from the sun, in the damp darkness of the dingy apartment he shares with his wife, Kimi, aboriginal and junkie.

But before he dies, he has a book to write. This novel, in which he recounts the events that take place in a country where the sun burns, burns the skin, burns the brain, burns retinas of those who are forced to look at it without blinking. In a country where another kind of sun shines as well, that of a dictator in the grip of fear.

And when a dictator is afraid, he casts his net wide. First, there are those young people at the University, who show their freedom by staging Beckett’s plays and distributing leaflets on which the words of the author of Endgame take an unexpected resonance. Then there are the old people, who are, as is well known, soothsayers, magicians, and charlatans, and especially sorcerers and soul eaters. At night, on their bed, they close their eyes, order their spirit to leave their bodies and go to distant lands, they are strange beings with outstretched arms above the sleeping spaces, their outstretched wings of fire in the wind.

Isn’t magic the most dangerous form of sedition?

 Thus Ito, in his cell, has made ​​the acquaintance of Koli Lem, the blind man who’s never separated from his books. In the midst of the darkest night, in the words exchanged, in the flesh, they each will be the unique light for the other.

In this fourth novel, Edem Awumey offers a work of unprecedented force, mercilessly explores the darkness that humanity carries with it.


Edem Awumey was born in Togo in 1975. He now lives in Canada. His first novel, Port-Mélo, published in 2006 by Editions Gallimard, received the Grand Prix litteraire de l’Afrique noire in 2006, one of Africa’s most distinguished literary awards. His second novel, Les Pieds sales (Editions du Boreal), was long-listed for the Goncourt in 2009. His work has been published in France, Spain, the Netherlands, and in English.