An irreverent, allusive, scatalogical, tragicomic masterpiece that centers on the patrons of a run-down bar as they try to document the details of their lives in a country that appears to have forgotten the importance of remembering.
In Republic of the Congo, in the town of Trois-Cents, in a bar called Credit Gone West, a former schoolteacher known as Broken Glass drinks red wine and records the stories of the bar and its regulars for posterity: Stubborn Snail, the owner, who must battle church people, ex-alcoholics, tribal leaders, and thugs set on destroying him and his business; the Printer, who had his respectable life in France ruined by a white woman, his wife; Robinette, who could outdrink and outpiss any man; and Broken Glass himself, whose own tale involves as much heartbreak, squalor, disappointment, and delusion.
But Broken Glass fails spectacularly at staying out of trouble as one denizen after another wants to rewrite history in an attempt at making sure his portrayal will properly reflect their exciting and dynamic lives. Despondent over this apparent triumph of self-delusion over self-awareness, Broken Glass drowns his sorrows and riffs on the great books of Africa and the West. Brimming with life, death, and literary allusions, Broken Glass is Mabanckou's finest novel--a mocking satire of the dangers of artistic integrity.