The Tanzanian writer, activist and poet, Issa Shivji, reviews The World Turned Upside Down for the Kenyan newspaper The Nation.
This is a political novel with a novel approach; not amenable to a normal kind of sober academic review. There is nothing like this I have ever read before. It is a thriller, if you like; it is a political indictment of capitalism, if you prefer; it is about love and hate, heart-breakers and heart-broken, if that is what interests you.
Bianca Ndour is a brilliant academic. A persuasive rabble-rouser, a detective out to solve serial murder of the global elite; a conspirator or an accomplice or simply a reveller of these murders, it is hard to tell. She is an insatiable lover, a cruel heart-breaker, a dare-devil out to confront and expose the ignominies of the system.
She refuses to see the world the way you and me and others are accustomed to see. She shows you the world turned upside down as she sees it and, at the end of it all, succeeds in her mission. You begin to imitate her, not mimic or mock or ridicule, which is your first reflex. She makes you overcome your reflex and makes you reflect instead.
The novel is racy. Its plot is crazy and insane – that is what you feel as you race through it. But when you are through its 342 pages, reluctantly put it aside and take a moment to reflect, you cannot help but conclude that it is you, the reader, who is crazy and insane in your failure to see how insane, inhuman and irrational is the capitalist order under which labours the world you inhabit.
To read the full review online click here.