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Fiston Mujila’s second novel is set for a September 2020 release by France-based publishing powerhouse Éditions Métailié.

It has been six years since the break out success of Mujila’s award-wining debut Tram 83, so this is great news for fans.

Titled La Danse du Vilain (The Villain’s Dance), the novel captures aspects of life during Mobutu’s regime and the migration of communities from the Democratic Republic of Congo (called Zaire at the time) to Angola.

Excerpt of the synopsis:

The author creates the atmosphere of the time through a roundup of characters: the diviner Tshiamuena, also known as Madonna of the Cafunfu mines, prides herself of being God with whoever is willing to listen to her. Franz Baumgartner, an apprentice writer originally from Austria and rumba lover, goes around the bars in search of material for his novel. Sanza, Le Blanc and other street children share information to the intelligence services when they are not living off begging and robbery. Djibril, taxi driver, only lives for reggae music. As soon as night falls, each character dances and plays his own role in a country mined by dictatorship.

American indie press Deep Vellum, known for publishing translations, has the North America rights. Pontas, Mujila’s literary agency, reveals that translation rights have also been sold for the German, Swedish, Danish, and Arabic editions.

Fiston Mwanza Mujila is from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He had a massive breakout in 2014 with his debut novel Tram 83.

The book received widespread praise and was translated into dozens of languages, garnering accolades that included a longlist for the Man Booker International Prize and wins at the coveted Etisalat Prize for Literature and the German International Literature Award.

Given how successful the debut was, there is a lot of anticipation around the new book.

Anne-Marie Métailié, the publisher at Éditions Métailié said:

“What a beautiful surprise this book is in the fog of the Coronavirus. All the vitality and charm of Tram 83 comes back in force with the inimitable language of Fiston Mwanza Mujila”.

And editor Lise Belperron adds:

The Villain’s Dance is a staggering plunge in late Mobutu’s Congo among gold diggers, street children, false prophets and the great Madonna of the mines of Cafunfu, but also an ode to poetic punch, rumba music, and outside life (!), where the most squalid is always saved by literature. It’s a wonderful chaos you don’t ever want to leave!”

While Will Evans from Deep Vellum Publishing, North America said:

“This inventive, intense, unique novel gets to the heart of the human condition, while still reflecting the world’s darkness and strangeness in a storytelling voice that is uniquely Fiston’s own. The novel is visionary, and absolutely vital in today’s political and social climate.”

Brittle Paper congratulates Fiston Mwanza Mujila!

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