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The Children of Segu

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Sequel to Guadeloupan author Conde's highly praised Segu , this historical novel trudges through the 19th-century tribal wars, Islamic conquest and French occupation of the African kingdom of Segu, situated on the Niger River in what is now Mali. The many characters here, identified by their kinship bonds, flank themselves around the heirs of the Traore family, nobles form Sequel to Guadeloupan author Conde's highly praised Segu , this historical novel trudges through the 19th-century tribal wars, Islamic conquest and French occupation of the African kingdom of Segu, situated on the Niger River in what is now Mali. The many characters here, identified by their kinship bonds, flank themselves around the heirs of the Traore family, nobles formerly close to the throne. Now cousins Muhammad and Olubunmi are caught in the jihad waged by the fanatical El-Hadj Omar, whose son Amadou eventually rules Segu. Conde trains close attention on the tenets of Islam and the local animistic religion it displaces before shifting the action to Jamaica, where Christians from Segu seek refuge. But the bloody Morant Bay Rebellion of 1865 dashes their hopes. Returning to Africa, the saga focuses on devout Omar and his young wife, Kadija, the next generation of Traores, as the Segu resist the French.


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Sequel to Guadeloupan author Conde's highly praised Segu , this historical novel trudges through the 19th-century tribal wars, Islamic conquest and French occupation of the African kingdom of Segu, situated on the Niger River in what is now Mali. The many characters here, identified by their kinship bonds, flank themselves around the heirs of the Traore family, nobles form Sequel to Guadeloupan author Conde's highly praised Segu , this historical novel trudges through the 19th-century tribal wars, Islamic conquest and French occupation of the African kingdom of Segu, situated on the Niger River in what is now Mali. The many characters here, identified by their kinship bonds, flank themselves around the heirs of the Traore family, nobles formerly close to the throne. Now cousins Muhammad and Olubunmi are caught in the jihad waged by the fanatical El-Hadj Omar, whose son Amadou eventually rules Segu. Conde trains close attention on the tenets of Islam and the local animistic religion it displaces before shifting the action to Jamaica, where Christians from Segu seek refuge. But the bloody Morant Bay Rebellion of 1865 dashes their hopes. Returning to Africa, the saga focuses on devout Omar and his young wife, Kadija, the next generation of Traores, as the Segu resist the French.

30 review for The Children of Segu

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    The Children of Segu, together with Segu, the book that precedes it, is a true epic about the history of an important part of Africa across the XVIII and XIX centuries. The beginning of this second book was a bit slow for me, because I had to go back to Ségu #1 to refresh my memory about all the family ties, as the family tree at the beginning of the book is not complete. Condé's writing is beautiful and she does a great job in telling this history through the lives of a noble family from the city The Children of Segu, together with Segu, the book that precedes it, is a true epic about the history of an important part of Africa across the XVIII and XIX centuries. The beginning of this second book was a bit slow for me, because I had to go back to Ségu #1 to refresh my memory about all the family ties, as the family tree at the beginning of the book is not complete. Condé's writing is beautiful and she does a great job in telling this history through the lives of a noble family from the city of Segu. We follow the Traores as the decades pass, the family grows, and brothers and cousins follow different paths in life, some going as far as Brazil and Jamaica. This being said, there were parts of the narrative that I really did not like, especially in what concerns the way women are portrayed. I know the book takes place more than three centuries ago, but even so, I would have liked to see more women characters more developed (a bit like the matriarch in the first volume). This second volume is mostly about the men. In addition, some of the descriptions using rape imagery just feel excessive and somewhat out of place, especially when many of the male characters are actually quite sensible people. Two examples: “Segu is surrounded by walls, like a woman you can possess only by force.” “They were going to conquer Segu. They were going to destroy her. Ahmed imagined himself entering the city after her sudden rape, passing through the gate of her bloodied thighs, fulfilling his desire for vengeance.” In spite of this, and although I liked the first volume best, The Children of Segu is still a great book, which I finished a bit reluctantly, because I would have liked it to go on into the XX century...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Vince Will Iam

    As powerful as the first episode ! Condé manages to captivate the reader combining fiction with historical events. There are amazing details on the history of Mali and the Sahel region. This saga illuminates the reader on the external and internal forces that have shaped the region leaving the proud inhabitants of its then glorious empire of Segu stripped of their ancestral culture. This second volume makes you travel from West Africa all the way to Jamaica and back to Mali, thus linking the des As powerful as the first episode ! Condé manages to captivate the reader combining fiction with historical events. There are amazing details on the history of Mali and the Sahel region. This saga illuminates the reader on the external and internal forces that have shaped the region leaving the proud inhabitants of its then glorious empire of Segu stripped of their ancestral culture. This second volume makes you travel from West Africa all the way to Jamaica and back to Mali, thus linking the destinies of the people of African descent. So many narratives brought into one. The final chapters and Omar's story convey a powerful message of tolerance and humanity reaching beyond cultural and religious differences.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    ...Where we started the tale with a proud, independent nation, over the course of two books we see the city of Ségou decline ever further. Their absorptions into French Sudan seems inescapable. What little hope remains in this book can be found in the roots of the extended Traoré family. It is a family who have weathered all storms for almost a century. Despite religious disputes and all manner of conflict, they have managed to keep that in tact at least. Condé leaves us with a profound sense of ...Where we started the tale with a proud, independent nation, over the course of two books we see the city of Ségou decline ever further. Their absorptions into French Sudan seems inescapable. What little hope remains in this book can be found in the roots of the extended Traoré family. It is a family who have weathered all storms for almost a century. Despite religious disputes and all manner of conflict, they have managed to keep that in tact at least. Condé leaves us with a profound sense of loss at the end of the novel, where one of the charters muses on the state of the city and how he is going to lead the family though this. Although the continuing downward spiral in both books suggest an answer, it is up to the reader to decide whether or not to go along with that. Whichever way you choose to look at it, Ségou is a remarkable piece of historical fiction. Full Random Comments review

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dunori

    This was the very first book I’ve read which was a sequel to another and I now know that I would like to make the time between reading books in a series as minimal as possible if I do so again in the future. It had been over a decade since I read Segu and although I remember that I loved it, recollecting specific details to connect to this volume was a challenge, especially with no longer having the part one. I would say Ms. Conde successfully wrote it in such a way that you didn’t necessarily n This was the very first book I’ve read which was a sequel to another and I now know that I would like to make the time between reading books in a series as minimal as possible if I do so again in the future. It had been over a decade since I read Segu and although I remember that I loved it, recollecting specific details to connect to this volume was a challenge, especially with no longer having the part one. I would say Ms. Conde successfully wrote it in such a way that you didn’t necessarily need to have read the prequel to like this one, but I do think it would make it more enjoyable. Overall I didn’t like this one as much as the first. I’m not sure if it was because I was in a different frame of mind back then or how it was written or both but it is still an excellent set of tales about one West African family’s life right before & during the superimpositions of indoctrination and colonialism.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Esther

    Fort, intéressant, complet, bien recherché et bien construit. Malgré une multitude de personnages, qui se perdent souvent et reviennent, parfois sans savoir quel rôle ils ont dans la famille, Maryse Condé présente chacun de ses personnages d'une manière que moi comme lecteur, j'ai toujours su les placer dans l'histoire. Rien que cela c'est un accomplissement. J'ai eu un énorme plaisir avec ce deuxième tome, tout comme avec le premier. Fort, intéressant, complet, bien recherché et bien construit. Malgré une multitude de personnages, qui se perdent souvent et reviennent, parfois sans savoir quel rôle ils ont dans la famille, Maryse Condé présente chacun de ses personnages d'une manière que moi comme lecteur, j'ai toujours su les placer dans l'histoire. Rien que cela c'est un accomplissement. J'ai eu un énorme plaisir avec ce deuxième tome, tout comme avec le premier.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Princess Sherifat Akorede

    This sequel to Segu is also as captivating as the first one. A historical fiction, written originally in French is well translated into English. The woven tapestry of both books is superbly captivating. Maryse Conde's creative work was first introduced to me by my friends in Chicago: Hanan Wajid, Sandra Jackson Opoku , Amazon Braids. I thoroughly enjoy her work. This sequel to Segu is also as captivating as the first one. A historical fiction, written originally in French is well translated into English. The woven tapestry of both books is superbly captivating. Maryse Conde's creative work was first introduced to me by my friends in Chicago: Hanan Wajid, Sandra Jackson Opoku , Amazon Braids. I thoroughly enjoy her work.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alida

    One of my many brothers-in-law lent me this book several years ago and every time I try to return it, he ask "Did you read it?" and I have to confess "No." I did it! I finished the book although I must admit I skipped over big chunks. Not my type of book but now I can return it to my brother-in-law. How honest shall I be? Hmmmm; haven't decided that yet. One of my many brothers-in-law lent me this book several years ago and every time I try to return it, he ask "Did you read it?" and I have to confess "No." I did it! I finished the book although I must admit I skipped over big chunks. Not my type of book but now I can return it to my brother-in-law. How honest shall I be? Hmmmm; haven't decided that yet.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Soro Kadotien Alassane

    Back to my roots A great book, reminding us of the lost kings of Segou and how Africa’s culture was lost to imperialism. I strongly recommend this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    K AKUA GRAY

    This is on my must read list! http://drakuabookreviews.blogspot.com... This is on my must read list! http://drakuabookreviews.blogspot.com...

  10. 4 out of 5

    James Hall

    A sequel that lived up to the hype and more, much more.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Marjolein

    ***ENGLISH REVIEW BELOW*** Hm, pfft, wat kan ik hierover zeggen? Ik heb het eindelijk uit XD Het was een moeilijk boek om te lezen. Het was erg interessant, maar het was moeilijk om de hele tijd met mijn aandacht bij het verhaal te blijven. Dat kan ook komen omdat ik het in kleinere stukjes heb gelezen dan bij het vorige boek. Ook dit keer vond ik het erg interessant om over de Afrikaanse cultuur en geschiedenis te lezen. Ik heb hier nog maar heel weinig over gelezen (ik denk dat het veilig is om ***ENGLISH REVIEW BELOW*** Hm, pfft, wat kan ik hierover zeggen? Ik heb het eindelijk uit XD Het was een moeilijk boek om te lezen. Het was erg interessant, maar het was moeilijk om de hele tijd met mijn aandacht bij het verhaal te blijven. Dat kan ook komen omdat ik het in kleinere stukjes heb gelezen dan bij het vorige boek. Ook dit keer vond ik het erg interessant om over de Afrikaanse cultuur en geschiedenis te lezen. Ik heb hier nog maar heel weinig over gelezen (ik denk dat het veilig is om te zeggen dat deze serie mijn eerste kennismaking hiermee was) en dit lezen met (het beetje) voorkennis dat ik heb zorgt ervoor dat ik rouw om de cultuur en tradities die verloren zijn gegaan. Het was geen makkelijk boek om te lezen. De namen en termen die gebruikt worden maken het moeilijker, en onthouden welk personage waar is en hoe ze aan elkaar gerelateerd zijn maakt het ook moeilijk. Ik vond de aparte verhalen van de personages leuk, maar het is anders dan in het andere boek omdat hier elk personage een paar hoofdstukken voor zichzelf heeft, en daarna horen we bijna niets meer van ze. Het einde was niet erg bevredigend, omdat ik het idee had dat het óf eerder had moeten eindigen, óf later. Ik vond de meeste personages wel leuk, en ik ben erg onder de indruk van al het onderzoek de schrijfster heeft gedaan om dit boek te kunnen schrijven. Dit boek heeft er zeker voor gezorgd dat ik geïnteresseerd ben in het lezen van meer boeken over dit onderwerp. Nou, kort gezegd, het was een interessant maar moeilijk boek om te lezen. ***ENGLISH REVIEW*** Well, pfft, what can I say? I finally finished it XD This was quite a difficult read. It was very interesting, but it was difficult to keep my attention on the story the whole time. That might also be because I read it in smaller portions than I did with the previous book, though. Again, I found it very interesting to read about the African culture and history. I've read very little about it (I think I can safely say that this series was my first introduction to it) and reading it with the (albeit little) foreknowledge I have makes me mourn the culture and the traditions that have been lost. It was not an easy read. The names and terms used make it more difficult, and keeping track of which character is where and how they are related to the others makes it also difficult. I liked the separate stories of the characters, but it differs with the previous book in the sense that each character has a few chapters for themselves and after that we barely hear from them again. The ending was not very satisfying, because I felt that either it should've ended earlier, or later. I liked most characters, though, and I'm very impressed by all the research the author put into writing this book. This book has definitely made me interested in reading more books about this subject. Anyway, in short, it was an interesting but difficult read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Moon

    I knew hardly anything about the history and the culture of Africa. This novel gave me more insight in their complicated history.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marzio Salamina

    Epic!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    Fiction C7452c 1990

  15. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

    Ridiculous at times, but interesting right up until the time when everyone breaks each others heart

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Not as good as Segu, but still a great book!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Read it in Paris

  18. 4 out of 5

    fabienalexis

  19. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

  21. 4 out of 5

    Karen

  22. 5 out of 5

    Darryl

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gilly

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anna-Maria

  25. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Williams

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amel EA

  27. 5 out of 5

    Biljana Dab

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nike O

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nina Prada

  30. 4 out of 5

    Basic

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