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Road to Europe [ a novel]

Ferdinand Oyono, translated by Richard Bjornson
ISBN: 978-0-89410-590-6
1989/103 pages


Oyono’s third novel is the bittersweet, first-person story of Aki Barnabas, a young Cameroonian scholar who seeks to become “someone” by using the rules of the colonial system to his personal advantage.

Failing in his nearly ten-year effort to win a scholarship to Paris, sacrificing his very self in a futile quest for prestige, Barnabas becomes lost at home and unwanted abroad. A victim of his own delusional thinking, he achieves a measure of success only after he acknowledges the self- loathing that fueled his attempt to escape his Africanness. First published in French in 1960.


The late Richard Bjornson taught French and comparative literature at Ohio State University. His other translations include the works of Paul Hazoumé, Mongo Beti, and René Philombe.