From the first Black winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature—his debut novel about a group of young Nigerian intellectuals trying to come to grips with themselves and their changing country. First published in 1965.
Friends since high school, the five young men at the heart of The Interpreters have returned to Lagos after studying abroad to embark on careers as a physician, a journalist, an engineer, a teacher, and an artist. As they navigate wild parties, affairs of the heart, philosophical debates, and professional dilemmas, they struggle to reconcile the cultural traditions and Western influences that have shaped them—and that still divide their country. Soyinka deftly weaves memories of the past through scenes of the present as the five friends move toward an uncertain future. The result is a vividly realized fictional world rendered in prose that pivots easily from satire to tragedy and manages to be both wildly funny and soaringly poetic.
About the Author
WOLE SOYINKA, the first African to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, is a distinguished playwright, novelist, poet, and essayist of global stature. Born in Nigeria, Soyinka studied at University College in Ibadan, Nigeria and University of Leeds, England. Soyinka's prolific body of work includes several poetry collections, over 20 plays, five memoirs including Aké: The Years of Childhood (1981), and three novels—The Interpreters (1965), Season of Anomy (1973), and Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth (2021).
"The novel is rich in well-turned individual scenes. . . . it is a work in which the esthetic and political problems are meshed in an almost classical way." —The New York Times
"It is elaborately, strikingly and indeed often beautifully written." —The Times
"A great steaming marsh of a novel. . . brimful of promise and life." —New Statesmen
"The first African novel that has a texture of real complexity and depth." —Gerald Moore, The New African