One Times Two by Cyprienne Toazara (tr. Allison M Charette)

Photo of Cyprienne with hair tied back and pink shirt on, against pink background

a nutshell: set in Madagascar, this entrancing short story follows the myriad efforts (including rituals, hymns & feasts) of a young twin to bear a child with his French vazaha wife

a line: “the white wife, she leaped from one discovery to the next, astonished by ordinary things, like the colour of the water, the green of the forest, the singing bamboo, and their sparkling laughter”

an image: I loved reading the narratorial perspective on the couple’s house on the bamboo hill – distinct from the huts in the village – with its many dividing walls, rooms for specific purposes, and puzzling objects

a thought: it was interesting to learn that the other twin called his sister-in-law vady lova (‘the wife to be inherited’ – as was customary in the case of his brother’s death)

a fact: while the most commonly spoken language has always been Malagasy, French became the official language during the colonial period; the 1958 Constitution deemed both the official languages of the Malagasy Republic – the 2007 Constitution added English to these, which was then removed by a 2010 referendum

want to read One Times Two? visit here