Title: Scarlet Song
Author: Mariama Ba
Publish Date: May 1995
Genre: African Literature, Adult Fiction
Page Count: 171 pages
A story about two 'star-crossed lovers' in Senegal; Mireille, the daughter of a French diplomat and Ousmanne, the son of a poor Senegalese family. The couple meet while in high school, but they are forced to keep their love a secret, due to their difference in race and culture.
When their love is discovered by Mireille's family, she is whisked away back to France, but there the couple is determined to continue their love affair. When the time is right, the two get married and Mireille moves back to Senegal to live with Ousmane to make a life together.
However, the young couple soon learns that it takes a lot more to survive discrimination than just love. As Ousmane returns to the roots of his culture, Mireille is left heartbroken, humiliated and completely alone.
You expect any novel about young love to have a happy ending, but Ba shows us that this is not always the case. Ba shows the audience that when confronted with a difference in culture and an unwillingness to compromise that even the strongest love has little hope to survive. I loved this novel. This was the first novel that we read in my Non-Western Literature class and i'd say my professor picked a great novel. The way that Ba shows the deterioration of Ousmane and Mireille's relationship was well written. Its a short, but very powerful read. I give this novel a 4.5 out of 5.
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