As Allison M. Charette notes in her illuminating introduction to this month’s issue, very few Malagasy writers have been translated into English, and only a handful of authors in Madagascar can support themselves with their writing. One author you’ll find in both categories is Jean-Luc Raharimanana, who’s graced WWB in previous years with both poetry and prose. We introduced Raharimanana in our May 2012 issue of writing from the Indian Ocean with two poems: the incantatory “Kratos” and the sardonic “Famine,” translated by the team of Alexis Pernsteiner and Antoine Bargel. Sophie Lewis, who translated Charlotte-Arrisoa Rafenomanjato’s heartbreaking “Omeo Zamako” for the current issue, contributed a tour de force excerpt from Raharimanana’s novel Za for our September 2013 Black Markets issue. The contraband in question is organs (needless to say, not the musical kind), and the deceptively antic narrative reveals the grim reality of poverty and class struggle on the island. Taken together, Raharimana's works reflect the insight and scope of contemporary Malagasy writing—a terrific primer before leaping into this month’s issue, which provides new scope on an unprecedented scale.
Photo: Jean-Luc Raharimanana