There is a Country
Nyuol Lueth Tong, ed., There is a Country: New Fiction from the New Nation of South Sudan, (San Francisco: McSweeney’s, 2013)
This slim volume is an anthology of delightful stories from a place that has occupied the news and my imagination for some time. Part of the coming of age of a new country, I suppose, is the discovery of what might be unique about its literature. But a country with so many languages and such a varied history has trouble even finding a language for its voice. English is as good as any other - perhaps better because a larger percentage of the population speaks the language that is a holdover from its colonial past. There is a similarity to the stories, and yet each is unique with twists and turns that one might not expect from non-African writers.
Is there something unique about South Sudan that distinguishes it from the rest of Africa in terms of short fiction? I’m not sure I have discerned the answer to that question. What is clear from reading the volume is that there is talent in the new nation and that the talent should be nurtured and shared. This bonus volume from McSweeney’s is a much-appreciated contribution to that project.