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Caught in the Storm [a novel]

Seydou Badian, translated by Marie-Thérèse Noiset
Caught in the Storm [a novel]
ISBN: 978-0-89410-793-1
ISBN: 978-0-89410-794-8
1998/116 pages

"Noiset has meticulously preserved the integrity and sublety of the original French, its invigorating idiom and orality, without undermining its satiric undertones—a challenging task she has mastered beautifully."—Jamal En-nehas, World Literature Today

"This poignant novel evokes the utopian hopes at the very dawn of the decolonization of Africa.”—Publishers Weekly


A gentle novel about the enduring conflict between young and old, new and traditional, foreign and native.

Badian tells the story of a village family in an African country under French rule. The family's father and the eldest son revere the customs of their ancestors, while the younger children are strongly attracted by European ways and ideas. The daughter, Kany, has fallen in love with her very Westernized classmate, Samou; her father, however, has promised her in marriage to Famagan, a merchant who already has two wives.

In the end, it is traditional African wisdom, generous to all perspectives and faithful to both generations, that resolves the family’s problems.

First published in French (as Sous l’orage) in 1954.


Mali's Seydou Badian was a member of the second generation of African intellectuals that rose to defend the value of their own culture and to take a greater role in their political future. His personal involvement in government began in 1957, when he served as French Sudan's minister of rural economy and planning. After the establishment of the Republic of Mali in 1960, he was leader of the radical Marxist group in the government of Modibo Keita. He spent ten years in prison after Keita's 1968 overthrow.
Marie-Thérèse Noiset is associate professor of French at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.