by Maryse Conde | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0345353064 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingmathgirl40wing of Waterloo, Ontario Canada on 4/16/2013
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
7 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingmathgirl40wing from Waterloo, Ontario Canada on Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Welcome to BookCrossing! This is a site for catching and releasing books for those who want to share the joy of reading. If you find this book, please leave a journal entry to let previous readers know how and where you found the book. Feel free to do this anonymously if you wish. You are welcome to keep the book, but I encourage you to pass it on and let it continue its journey.

Journal Entry 2 by wingmathgirl40wing at Waterloo, Ontario Canada on Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Segu is a work of historical fiction that follows several generations of a Bambara family living in the kingdom of Segu (located in Mali) during the first half of the 19th century. A main theme is the growth of Islam and how it gradually displaces the traditional customs and beliefs. The story shifts among the perspectives of the various characters, and there are many of them, mostly male. The female members of the family seem to take a secondary role in this saga. I found it a little difficult to keep track of the numerous characters and storylines, but otherwise thought that this was a superbly told story filled with interesting historical and cultural detail.

Journal Entry 3 by wingmathgirl40wing at Waterloo, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Released 6 yrs ago (4/17/2013 UTC) at Waterloo, Ontario Canada


This book is on its way to another reader. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did, Arvores!

Journal Entry 4 by wingArvoreswing at Viana do Castelo, Viana do Castelo Portugal on Thursday, June 06, 2013
Thank you so much for sharing. This book has arrived today, safe and sound.
I will read it and pass it on.
Warm greetings.

- irus
- Pequete
- ladylouve
- ichigochi
- conto
- Arvores

Journal Entry 5 by irus at Bragança, Bragança Portugal on Friday, December 21, 2018
It seems a good way of starting next year readings.
Thanks Arvores

Journal Entry 6 by irus at Bragança, Bragança Portugal on Thursday, January 31, 2019
What a wonderful book. It lets us enter in the city of Segu, show us the births, the deaths, and the rituals of both important moments of life, lets us hear the songs of the griots and imagine men covered in gris-gris, using cowries as money, let us follow the small details of the daily life.
What I liked in this family saga, that seems condemned to a bad omen, is that there are no heroes. Although men are depicted as courageous,handsome, adventurous, and sometimes even brutal, there are also fragile, sensitive, regretful, in need of their mothers lap and counsel, deeply in love of their wives or concubines, love which sometimes decides their fate.
That's also why I don't think its a misogynic book, as I read in some critics. Yes, women are raped, serve as sexual slaves, pass to the brother-in-law when their husband dies, marry by the will of their fathers, don't have a voice in the city council. But they have an important voice at home, are listened by their men and their sons, some of them even have the courage to take their fate in their hands, be it by leaving the city or take their own life. And we can't read the book with todays eyes and prejudices.
Apart from that the story takes us to the koranic schools of Timbuktu and Macina, to the busy streets of Fez, to the West african coast, where English missionaries cross their path with Portuguese and French traders, to the fazendas in Brasil, even to the dirty and smelly streets of London.
In the centre of all that is the raising of Islam, the fight between a new god embraced by some and the ancient traditions kept by others. And, as always happens, mostly it had nothing to do with religion, but with trade, greed, power.

For a curious note, I discovered that “auto-da-fé” (the ritual of public penance of condemned heretics and apostates) as no translation in English and it is used in its Portugueses original form. Its not a thing we should be proud of, I just didn’t know that and was surprised to find this expression in the middle of a sentence.

To avoid sending the book back and forth, I passed the book to my neighbor Pequete, who will then follow the usual order of the ring.

Journal Entry 7 by Pequete at Bragança, Bragança Portugal on Friday, March 08, 2019
I dived into this book as soon as irus passed it to me and I completely forgot to make a JE - sorry!
Meanwhile I've finished it and I don't have a lot to add to what has been written before.
I'm really thankful for Bookcrossing, because without it, I would probably never have noticed this great book.

The book follows the history of the Bambara people, of whom I had never heard before (my ignorance), from the 18th until the early 19th century. Today, the Bambara live mainly in present-day Mali and form the largest part of its population. Between the 17th and 19th century, they had two powerful kingdoms, one with its center in Segu, and the other in Kaarta. We follow the Traore family from Segu, through several generations. With them, we travel northwards to Fez, westwards to Saint Louis (present-day Senegal), we cross the Atlantic with French and Portuguese slave traders, to Brazil and back, and we also meet the English and pay a short visit to 18th century UK.

But the core of the book is about African history and life in this period, which was mostly unknown to me and by far the most interesting part of the book. We learn about the way of life of common people, how the kingdom was run by the Mansa, the clash between Islam and the traditional way of life and religion, the wars and alliances that, just like today, had little to do with religion and more with the greed for power and riches. It is a book based on actual events but the author gives us characters that are true people we find ourselves empathizing with, and in the end we find ourselves divided, because truly, there are no good or bad in this story:

“Muhammad rushed into the compound like a madman just as Olubunmi and Alfa were coming out of Tiefolo’s hut. The three young men embraced each other without a word. Muhammad and Alfa came together again, hugging each other like a pair of lovers who have just missed losing each other forever. In a very short time they had discovered all the horror of religious fanaticism, and of the scheming for power that so often lay behind it. Alfa felt he would never forget the sight of his father profaning the altars of the Traore. God is love. God is respect for everyone. No, Alhadji Guidado was not the servant of God; he was merely the unwitting tool of Amadou Amadou’s earthly ambition.”

Now I need to find the sequel.

The book will go to the next reader as soon as she confirms I can send it.

Journal Entry 8 by Pequete at Bragança, Bragança Portugal on Monday, March 11, 2019
The book is on its way to ladylouve - enjoy!

Journal Entry 9 by ladylouve at Lisboa - Benfica, Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Friday, March 15, 2019
Here it is! I'll get to it soon, thank you! =D

Journal Entry 10 by ladylouve at Lisboa - Benfica, Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Friday, May 10, 2019
Thank you for sharing this wonderful book, it was a very interesting reading. Sorry I took so long to get through it: it's a dense and challenging book.

I loved to read about the habits and various religions of the people of this time and space. I wrote a review (in portuguese), that you can find in my blog:

Thanks again, let's find it another reader!

Journal Entry 11 by ichigochi at Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto Portugal on Monday, June 17, 2019
It's with me now.
Thanks for sharing.

Journal Entry 12 by conto at Lisboa (city), Lisboa (distrito) Portugal on Sunday, October 13, 2019
Estava à minha espera na caixa do correio esta sexta-feira, mas não sei quando chegou. Obrigada.

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