TOGO: The Shadow of Things to Come by Kossi Efoui

Kossi Efoui is one of Togo’s most prominent writers and playwrights, and while he is in self-imposed exile due to his opposition of the Gnassingbé regime, his work is also shown in Togo, as well as across Europe. He’s particularly well known for playing with and dissembling African stereotypes.

The Shadow of Things to Come is a dark, driving, layered story of a young man in an unnamed African nation who’s father was taken away to a re-education camp and who is himself fleeing being taken off to a border war, but it’s so nuanced and thick with poetic language and doublespeak (and masterfully translated into English) that you feel like you’re being driven along in a boat in a storm. The use of government euphemism and the construction of narrative run through this short novel – it’s a quick read, but one that I want to do again to try and get more of Efoui’s delicate, hypnotic and ominous layers.

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