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The Old Drift - Namwali Serpell

The Old Drift - Namwali Serpell

Penguin Vintage

Regular price €13,95 EUR
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Our take

In her debut novel, "The Old Drift," Namwali Serpell interweaves history, myth, and science fiction to tell the story of Zambia. Set against the backdrop of the Zambezi River, the novel spans four generations, offering a panoramic view of the country's tumultuous past, starting with the early white colonisers, and then travelling into the near future, filled with bug-sized drones. Serpell skillfully intertwines the lives of three families—black, white, and brown—whose destinies become entangled in Zambia's complex social and political landscape. From colonialism to independence, from the construction of the Kariba Dam to the rise of technology, "Old Drift" explores the enduring legacy of the past on the present through imaginative storytelling.

Publisher's description

1904. On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the majestic Victoria Falls, there is a colonial settlement called The Old Drift. In a smoky room at the hotel across the river, an Old Drifter named Percy M. Clark, foggy with fever, makes a mistake that entangles the fates of an Italian hotelier and an African busboy. This sets off a cycle of unwitting retribution between three Zambian families (black, white, brown) as they collide and converge over the course of the century, into the present and beyond. As the generations pass, their lives—their triumphs, errors, losses and hopes—emerge through a panorama of history, fairytale, romance and science fiction.

From a woman covered with hair and another plagued with endless tears, to forbidden love affairs and fiery political ones, to homegrown technological marvels like Afronauts, microdrones and viral vaccines, this gripping, unforgettable novel is a testament to our yearning to create and cross borders, and a meditation on the slow, grand passage of time.

Praise and awards

WINNER: The Arthur C. Clarke Award • The Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award • The Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction • The Windham-Campbell Prizes for Fiction

One of The Atlantic’s Great American Novels of the Past 100 Years

A dazzling debut, establishing Namwali Serpell as a writer on the world stage.”—Salman Rushdie, The New York Times Book Review

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