ISBN 9781942876090
ePub ISBN 9781942876106
Pages 222
Dimensions 216 x 140mm
Published 2016
Publisher Spears Media Press, Cameroon
Formats Paperback, eBook

The Journey's End

by Ba'bila Mutia

When Akuma, a youthful African government secondary school teacher, leaves his hometown and goes to the capital city, he hardly knows that he will be paralyzed and will not be able to use his legs again. The Journey's End is a character-driven narrative that explores the lives of two men who meet in Yaoundé, the capital city: Lucas Wango, an elderly pensioner who comes to collect his back pay of seven years' pension money, and Akuma, a physically challenged man who helps him recover his pension arrears. Wango doesn't know that Akuma, aka Général, is a mobster and the boss of a city gang that commands and controls a better part of the metropolis. Running parallel to this central plot are two subplots that eventually converge at the end of the novel: Lucas Wango's meddling in and eventual frustration with national political life and Général's relationship with Martina, a woman with whom he falls in love in the city. Set in the rural African landscape of Yambe and Menamo - Akuma's home village which he left to come to the city, and the urban backdrop of the rapidly populated city of Yaoundé, The Journey's End epitomizes the predicament of Africa's expanding slum-cities, characterized by poverty, corruption, and survival-driven individuality. For whom does the journey end - remains an absorbing question that animates every single page in this extraordinary urban adventure.

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"Babila Mutia's The Journey's End is a classic! His creative and imaginative genius is at play as he adroitly demonstrates that joy and pain can shake hands at some point but never an embrace. Lucas Wango and Général epitomize these two polarized worlds in the novel."

Kehbuma Langmia, author of Takumbeng and Evil Feeds on Itself (Langaa)

"Mutia's writing continues to examine the human condition through his carefully crafted characters which are presented to the reader in astonishing social, cultural and emotional detail. The Journey's End takes on some challenging themes not least those of a society encountering urbanisation at pace and all that it has to offer as well as all that it might take away. "

E. Dawson Varughese, author of Beyond the Postcolonial (Palgrave Macmillan)

"The Journey’s End is an enthralling and all-embracing story, brilliantly written and skilfully blended with an enriching cultural repertoire. Ba’bila Mutia masterly represents the complexities of the contemporary social, economic and political realities of a country that is smeared with degradation and drudgery. With aesthetic and thematic excellence, he most especially captures with a strong despairing sense the existentialist battles of the individual who is entangled in a progressively regressive social web. This novel is a vibrant contribution to the ever increasing corpus of Cameroon literature in English."

Charles Ngiewih Teke, Literary Critic, University of Yaounde I

"Ba’bila Mutia handles words as a gifted sculptor would handle clay. This story is bittersweet, tender, often wickedly humorous and almost certain to elicit tears. After reading this novel, you will never look at everyone who comes into your life in quite the same way. The story is a quirky and thoughtful exploration of the impact of bureaucratic inertia on a beleaguered people languishing under the weight of poverty; it is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the impact a small ruling class has on countless others. This charming novel by Mutia should find a ready audience with English language speakers in general and scholars of African Literature in particular as it is an invaluable addition to the burgeoning corpus of Anglophone Cameroon literature."

Victor N. Gomia, Department of English and Foreign Languages, Delaware State University.

About the Author

Ba'bila Mutia

Ba'bila Mutia is an award-winning Cameroonian author, poet, and playwright. He holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Windsor, Canada. His short stories and poetry have been featured in anthologies and reviews worldwide. He is the author of Whose Land? (Longman children's fiction); "Rain" (short story) in A Window on Africa; "The Miracle" (short story) in The Heinemann Book of Contemporary African Short Stories; "The Spirit Machine" (short story) in The Spirit Machine and Other New Short Stories from Cameroon, Coils of Mortal Flesh (poetry) and The Journey's End (2016). In 1993, Mutia was a guest of the Berlin Academy of Arts for an international short story reading. In September 2011, Mutia's play, The Road to Goma, was among six winners of the African Playwriting Project sponsored by the London National Theatre Studio where excerpts of his play were staged by professional actors. He has lived in Lagos and Benin City (Nigeria), Windsor and Halifax (Canada). He currently resides in Yaoundé, Cameroon where he is professor of African literature and creative writing at the École Normale Supérieure.