Tram 83

Tram 83

Fiston Mwanza Mujila

Translated By

Roland Glasser




Paperback with flaps


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(Paperback with flaps | ISBN 9789385288326 | 224 pages | April 2016)


In an unnamed African city-state riven by civil war, profit-seekers of all languages and nationalities mix. They have only one desire: to make a fortune by exploiting the mineral wealth of the land. Two friends—a budding writer home from Europe and his childhood friend who dreams of taking over the seedy underworld of their city—meet in the most notorious nightclub in town, Tram 83, and are sucked into a dizzying, lurid world of gangsters and crooks, poets and sex workers, soldiers and spies, tourists and stowaways.
Tram 83 plunges the reader into a modern African gold rush as cynical as it is comic. A daring feat of narrative imagination and linguistic creativity, this stunning debut uses the rhythms of jazz to weave a darkly exuberant tale of human relationships, greed and excess in a world that has become a global village


Click here to read an excerpt from the book.


‘Watch out for this blazing comet! Tram 83 will sweep you off your feet like a Coltrane number, and never put you down again.’
Rolling Stone (France)

‘A novel of mind-blowing and poetic beauty.’
The Point Magazine

‘[E]xuberant … Mujila, a playwright and a poet, has produced a formally engaging book that mimics both the structures of jazz and the sense of overhearing conversation in a bar … The whole book is charged with snarled, involving language; you always feel you're hunting for thoughtful treasures.’
—The Saturday Paper

‘The writing, which has all the edgy darkness of the best street lit, sometimes mimics the bar’s background jazz in its syncopation and the occasional quick-burst, broken-sentence, run-on format, with the bar regulars feeling like a Greek chorus. Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mujila has turned out a multiaward-winning debut that’s decidedly cool and juicy.’
—Library Journal

‘The writing has the pulsing, staccato rhythms of Beat poetry … Tram 83 is an antidote to the gloomy nature of most African novels. It doesn’t glamorize the ugliness, yet it’s alive to the thrill and abandonment of living for the moment and “satisfying the pleasures of the underbelly.”’
—Wall Street Journal

‘One of the most exciting discoveries of the rentrée … There is some Hieronymus Bosch in this frenetic, flamboyant, closed-door city slicker. An insolent, globe-trotting Hieronymus Bosch, one who would have read Gabriel García Márquez and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.’
—Le Monde

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About the author

Fiston Mwanza Mujila

Fiston Mwanza Mujila was born in 1981 in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo, where he went to a Catholic school before studying literature and human sciences at Lubumbashi University. He now lives in Graz, Austria, and is pursuing a PhD in Romance Languages. His writing has been awarded numerous prizes, including the Gold Medal at […]

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