En attendant la parution de Notre-Dame du Nil aux États-Unis la semaine prochaine, le journal ‘ the Brooklyn Rail‘ publie en exclusivité un extrait de ‘Our Lady of the Nile’ édité par Archipelago Books.
Visitez cette page pour lire l’extrait complet:
There is no better lycée than Our Lady of the Nile. Nor is there any higher. Twenty-five hundred meters, the white teachers proudly proclaim. “Two thousand four hundred ninety-three meters,” points out Sister Lydwine, our geography teacher. “We’re so close to heaven,” whispers Mother Superior, clasping her hands together.
The school year coincides with the rainy season, so the lycée is often wrapped in clouds. Sometimes, not often, the sun peaks through and you can see as far as the big lake, that shiny blue puddle down in the valley.
It’s a girls’ lycée. The boys stay down in the capital. The reason for building the lycée so high up was to protect the girls, by keep- ing them far away from the temptations and evils of the big city. Good marriages await these young lycée ladies, you see. And they must be virgins when they wed – or at least not get pregnant beforehand. Staying a virgin is better, for marriage is a serious business. The lycée’s boarders are daughters of ministers, high- ranking army officers, businessmen, and rich merchants. Their daughters’ weddings are the stuff of politics, and the girls are proud of this – they know what they’re worth. Gone are the days when beauty was all that mattered. Their families will receive far more than cattle or the traditional jugs of beer for their dowry, they’ll get suitcases stuffed full of banknotes, or a healthy account with the Banque Belgolaise in Nairobi or Brussels. Thanks to their daughters, these families will grow wealthy, the power of their clans will be strengthened, and the influence of their lineage will spread far and wide. The young ladies of Our Lady of the Nile know just how much they are worth.