Angola is Wherever I Plant My Field
Angola is Wherever I Plant My Field
In this collection of eighteen humorous absurdist stories, Melo weaves together postmodernism, postcolonial realities and Angolan history, through an intrusive narrator and author. Angola is Wherever I plant My field will make the readers laugh as they reflect on life and society through stories set in Luanda, Haifa, America, and North-Korea.
João Melo, born in Luanda, is an author, journalist, and professor. He studied in Coimbra, Luanda, and Rio de Janeiro. He is a founder of the Angolan Writer´s Association. He was a member of the parliament (1992-2017) and a minister of Angola (2017-2019). His works have been published in Angola, Portugal, Brazil, Italy and Cuba. A number of his writings have been translated into English, French, German, Arabic, and Chinese. He was awarded the 2009 Angola Arts and Culture National Prize in literature.
“Angola is Wherever I Plant My Field is an intelligent, sometimes belligerent, collection of absurdist stories that address issues like colonialism, poverty, and race relations in Angola. Darkly funny, this collection of stories is a highly literary (perhaps even meta-literary) book not to be missed.”
— Leah Grisham
“Melo's compelling prose is very attractive and spectacular, the open endings will leave you with mouth open and shivers all over your skin, an admirably innovative collection of short stories that I highly recommend you to read, João is hands down my newest favourite Writer, if you are a fan of Franz Kafka, Kazuo Ishiguro or Borges then I truly recommend you to grab a copy of ANGOLA IS WHEREVER I PLANT MY FIELD!!!”
- Twins.reading.books (instagram)
“ANGOLA IS WHEREVER I PLANT MY FIELD is a book that balances lightness, humor and postcolonial realities with moments of darkness and postmodernism, this is delightfully odd and beautifully written. This book hooked me from the very first page, Melo's prose is original, clever and stunningly captivating.
- Daisy bookaddict (Instagram)
ANGOLA IS WHEREVER I PLANT MY FIELD is a totally original, bitterly humorous and
emotionally complex tales about the Angolan history that operates on many levels, a truly
extraordinary book, it sustains the fascinating atmosphere set in Luanda, Haifa, America and
North Korea its tone and detailed elements are compelling and elaborated in a very intriguing way!”
- Travel.with_a_book (instagram)
“Angola is Wherever I Plant My Field was a delightful collection of varied stories all told with great humour and a sense of whimsy that belied the sometimes more serious themes unpinning the tales. My favourite was by far the opening narrative of the North Korean duck, which had me laughing out loud, but there were plenty of good moments in the other stories too. If you enjoy humorous short stories, this collection is well worth a look. It gets 4 stars from me.”
— Nicki Markus
"For those of you who teach literature or modern African history, teach this! If you don’t, read it anyway. You’ll think, you might chuckle, and you will definitely learn something. Parabéns, João!"
- Marisa Moorman
“I was taken by the title of this book, "Angola is Wherever I Plant My Field," and it kind of reminded me of the feeling of staying true to your roots… there are eighteen (18) stories to take you on a trip full of laughter, moments of reflection and most of all, keep you entertained…The writing style is something that also caught my attention, it reminded me of the kind of stories you could be told whilst in the company of a long lost friend, there's accounts of experiences here and there-some you laugh at, others you sigh, others you just nod and look away afraid that whatever you say would not do it justice. All in all, it was a pleasure reading this book. ”
- Dora Archie Okeyo
“The stories that drew me in were short and snappy, using humour, absurdity, exaggeration, wit, satirical leanings, and the existence of the truth mixed in to depict the complexity of Angolan society, history, and their present…these observations and conversations by our omniscient narrator reflects a knowledge that come from experience, from one who knows and understands the imprint of colonialism, the fight for independence, the political and ideological segregation, and the civil war that still resonates within the very fabric of the nation.
Melo's collection has some gems that used satire, wit, and a dark, dry humour that really made the issues they tackled less traumatic.”
- Tamar Hewitt
“Melo’s prose reveals to us a master of postmodern techniques of pastiche, interrupted narration, multiple or open endings and the explicit intervention of the narrator (and sometimes even the author) within the narrative plot.”
- Marco Burcaoni,
“Angola is Wherever I plant My Field: a collection of apparently simple and absurd short stories that will make you reflect on your own life and society… João Melo will make you laugh first. He will present an absurd situation that, nevertheless it happens so far away from your neighborhood — in Luanda, or North Korea… So, enjoy this book and laugh a lot…”
- Luis Felipe Lomeli, University of Kansas, Author of Indio borrado
“Melo’s stories bring to mind the work of Borges and Ishiguro and some ineffable otherness that is his alone. Discovering his work could be the highlight of a literary career.”
- Elizabeth McKenzie, Catamaran Literary Reader and Chicago Quarterly Review´s editor
“In Angola is Wherever I Plant My Field, João Melo brings up the bitter labyrinths of human existence”
- Ana Paula Arnauth, Professor, University of Coimbra
“A unique African storyteller… João Melo’s stories present us with male and female relationships in their most realistic, cruel and unsavory imaginable aspects. Melo deconstructs not only the ideas resulting from the post-independence period, which other writers have tackled, but above all he demolishes without any spark of exotism the family institution and the apparently free and equalitarian relationships between men and women in a new society with a bird’s eye view on the bourgeois unit.”
—-Pires Laranjeira, Professor Emeritus, University of Coimbra
“What makes the work of Melo unique within the literature of Angola is the way he shows the inconsistencies and contradictions in the attitudes of the emerging Angolan bourgeoisie with a detached and deeply ironic humor. His humor, however, is couched in a warmth and humanity that calls to mind the great 19th-century Brazilian fictionalist, Machado de Assis.”
- David Brookshaw, Emeritus Professor in Luso-Brazilian Studies, University of Bristol