Paule Constant's OUREGANO, originally published in France in 1980, received the Prix ValZry Larbaud and was a finalist for the prestigious Prix Goncourt. The novel is a scathing indictment of the self-absorbed consciousness responsible for individual and collective social failure in 1950s central Africa. The narrative threads through the minds of its diverse characters - French and African, young and old - with a sharp needle, skewering the contradictions between intent and action. At its heart is Tiffany Murano, who with her parents arrives at this fictional French colonial outpost where her father is named the hospital's chief medical officer. Bitter, sometimes hilariously funny, and ultimately achingly sad, the novel not only traces seven-year-old Tiffany's development of identity, loss, and memory but also serves as a massive critique of colonialism. OUREGANO was Constant's first novel. Since its publication she has gained fame in France for her disturbing, anticolonial, and feminist writing. Her characters do not just represent the particular condition of the feminine; in fact, Constant insists on the value of female characters to express the full human condition. OUREGANO is essential to an appreciation of Constant's oeuvre as it lays out themes and establishes key scenes she develops in later novels, and it introduces characters who reappear in subsequent books (some of which are available in translation). In this first English-language edition of OUREGANO, Claudine Fisher provides a concise introduction to Constant, including biographical details, literary influences, and key themes. With her elegant and poetic translation Margot Miller renders the novel accessible to all readers, adding helpful annotation to explain unfamiliar or untranslatable terms.
Used availability for Paule Constant's Ouregano
June 2005 : USA Hardback
June 1955 : USA Paperback