Camara Laye was born in Guinea in 1924. He studied engineering in Paris, where he wrote his first book, The African Child, an autobiographical bildungsroman set in pre-colonial Africa. The sequel, A Dream of Africa, written twelve years later after he had returned to his native land, sees an Africa on the violent brink of independence. In 1979 The Guardian of the Word, a collection of native songs and lore, was cited by the Académie Française—the same year Laye died in Senegal, where he had lived in exile for thirteen years.
“Allegorical, Kafkaesque and African in a unique way… An exploration of exile, quest and reconciliation with a power greater than logic or reason.” —The New York Times