Country #59: Mauritania

I am so excited about this; I really nerd out on Mauritania. I desperately want to go there, but feel like it’s 100% out of my league. I follow all sorts of accounts from the country on social media, and I love that my Instagram feed is full of beautiful photos of the desert and the sea.

So ready to dig and read something from a place that already inhabits a vibrant spot in my imagination!

On a negative side note: I am really not enjoying the WordPress updates. The Block Editor is not pleasurable to use. At all.


Reading Guadeloupe: Segu

Segu, by Maryse Condé, translated from the French by Barbara Bray

I’m not sure how to tackle this book. Massive amount of mixed emotions, which is a legit response to a creative work, right? I’m not in the business of in-depth reviews, so I’ll use that to my advantage here and just drop some basic thoughts…


  • Great to interact with the places and the history. I want to know more. So much more. The story takes place at a time and place of great change: A West African kingdom at the dawn of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, with Christianity and Europeans intruding from the west, and Islam sweeping in from the northern desert. Upheaval and uncertainly were everywhere, and it makes for dynamic ground for storytelling.


  • There is a lot of sexual assault in this book. Of children. I could not get past it.

So. There it is. This is a novel of larger cultural significance; much has been written about it, most of it positive. I’m afraid I’m not in that place with it, but you might be. That’s one of the reasons for my brevity when “reviewing”a work ; literature is for us to explore, and to get to know on our own.

View From The Southern Shore Of The Niger River
View From The Southern Shore Of The Niger River (image by GMason, via Wikimedia Commons)

Reading Guadeloupe: The Bridge of Beyond

The Bridge of Beyond by Simone Schwarz-Bart, translated from the French by Barbara Bray.

John Updike reviewed this book for The New Yorker. He wrote “The book’s gift of life is so generous, and its imagery so scintillant in the sunlight of love, that we believe every word.”

Yep. This book has power. It’s beautiful, and sad, and so many, many things. Read it this summer, outside in the heat, and let it flow over you.

“Behind one pain there is another. Sorrow is a wave without end. But the horse mustn’t ride you, you must ride it.”

Toussine, The Bridge of Beyond
Waterfall la Lézarde
Waterfall la Lézarde (image by Bobyfume, via Wikimedia Commons)

Country #58: Guadeloupe

This blog has taught me a lot. Things I probably should have learned in school, but didn’t. Like that France still seems to have a lot places under direct French control that are not actually France. I had no idea, which does me no credit to admit. It seems…complicated.


Back to the Caribbean! Always lovely! Looking forward to exploring, and learning a bit about what makes Guadeloupe…Guadeloupe.