Johnny Mad Dog by Emmanuel Dongala
A Novel

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Life During Wartime, As Seen Through the Eyes of Two Congolese Teenagers

Set amid the chaos of West Africa's civil wars, Emmanuel Dongala's striking new novel tells the story of two teenagers growing up while rival ethnic groups fight for control of their country.

At age sixteen, Johnny is a member of the Death Dealers, a rebel faction bent on seizing power. Even as he is drawn into the rebels' program of terror, Johnny Mad Dog, as he calls himself, retains his youthful exuberance-searching for girls, good times, and adventure. Sixteen-year-old Laokolé, for her part, dreams of finishing high school and becoming an engineer, but as rogue militias prepare to sack the city, she is forced to leave home with her mother and brother-and then finds herself alone and running from the likes of Johnny.

Acclaimed in France, Johnny Mad Dog is a coming-of-age story like no other; Dongala's masterful use of dual narrators makes the novel an unusually vivid and affecting tale of the struggle to survive-and to retain one's humanity-in terrifying times.


About Emmanuel Dongala

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Emmanuel Dongala was a lifelong resident of Brazzaville, capital of the Congo Republic, until he left the country amid civil war in 1997. He teaches at Simon's Rock of Bard College and lives in western Massachusetts.
Published May 15, 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 334 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, War, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Johnny Mad Dog

Kirkus Reviews

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embassy building, loses all her loved ones and finally reaches an embattled village, where (in a painfully unconvincing climactic scene) she and Mad Dog face off, lethal violence ensues and, as their country smolders, the stars overhead wheel silently and indifferently in their courses.

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The New York Times

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WITH: Christopher Minie (Johnny Mad Dog), Daisy Victoria Vandy (Laokolé), Dagbeh Tweh (No Good Advice), Barry Chernoh (Small Devil), Mohammed Sesay (Butterfly), Leo Boyeneh Kote (Pussy Cat), Prince Kotie (Young Major), Nathaniel J.

Jan 20 2011 | Read Full Review of Johnny Mad Dog: A Novel

The New York Times

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Dongala has written an unrelentingly bleak story, occasionally lightened by Mad Dog's laughable pronouncements, and he grabs us from the start with a language that is rude and raw (Mad Dog's) and lyrical (Laokole's) in Maria Louise Ascher's translation from the author's French.

Jul 10 2005 | Read Full Review of Johnny Mad Dog: A Novel

By the time No Good Advice goes wild in slow motion around a campfire, arching his back as though trying to get under some unseen limbo stick (if we’re talking about his inhumanity, he can go pretty low), Sauvaire appears to have confused dramatic emphasis with luxuriance.

Nov 03 2010 | Read Full Review of Johnny Mad Dog: A Novel

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