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The Knight and His Shadow (Le Cavalier et son ombre)



Original Language: French | 240 pp. | April 2010

2 Seas Represents: North American, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish Rights.

Rights Sold: English (Michigan State UP, NA).

Depending on the publisher and the quality of the translation, translations from the French can be funded by the Centre national du livre.


A serious and lyrical novel inspired by the oral tradition and written by one of the most distinctive voices on the African continent. Meditating on the human condition through the tragedies and hopes of Africa, he shows us that hope that remains, in spite of everything.

In a small town, a lone traveler waits for a boat: somewhere beyond the river, his former love one Khadija is probably struggling for her life. He waits for three days, during which he goes back into his own memory: he thinks about his encounter with the young woman in this far-away city in Europe, their life together in Africa, the deprivation and humiliations. In the ruins of the past, where should one find “something that looks like a beginning”? Perhaps in this strange job that Khadjia accepted out of misery: to sit every day in front of an open door that leads to darkness, and talk to an invisible person… To tirelessly imagine new fables as well as the identity of the listener, until you go insane and disappear.

The Knight and His Shadow interweaves the sometimes realistic and sometimes dreamlike tales of Khadija and the narrator. Tales that always bear the misfortune of a continent strangled by so many disasters. Yet the quest for salvation remains, symbolized by the mythical child that returns in each tale, which “did not have the time to live or to die.”


Diop_Knight and his Shadow_USA_Michigan UP_January2015

USA (Michigan University Press)