Short Story #12. The Eyes of the Statue (Camara Laye)

Deal Me In Reading Challenge: I drew the King of clubs.

Story: The Eyes of the Statue, by Camara Laye (translated from the French by Una MacLean), in The Granta Book of the African Short Story.

Comments: Camara Laye (1928-80) was a Guinean writer.  This story features a nameless young woman and a nameless old man in a nameless abandoned city which is reached by traversing a nameless desert.  The characters talk about the Meaning of Life.  It’s largely an “existential angst” portrayal, with a bit of unpleasant sci-fi at the end, not forgetting overtones of Shelley’s Ozymandias.  It is written in simple language, easy to follow.  The twist at the end hit me like a wallop on the head – I wasn’t even sure that was the end, I turned the page to see if there was more.

At no time was I conscious that I was reading a story in translation, which is a mark of a good translator.

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4 thoughts on “Short Story #12. The Eyes of the Statue (Camara Laye)

  1. Pingback: Deal Me In – Week 12 Wrap Up | Bibliophilopolis

  2. I have Laye’s semi-autobiographical novel The Dark Child on my to-read list. I didn’t realize he also wrote short stories.

    You’ve got me curious about this story now, as I do feel drawn to “existential angst” tales. It doesn’t seem to be available online, however, Google suggesting it is only available in a couple of themed anthologies. My library doesn’t have the Granta collection you reference, but they do have Under African Skies, which also has Amos Tutuola, making it twice worth the reading.

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