The concept of time in the novel The Last Flight of the Flamingo by Mia Couto
Keywords:temporality, time, no-time, occidental concept of time, African concept of time
In the novel, the European linear concept of time rooted in Christianity meets the non-European, i. e. African notion of time which, like that of Latin America, is cyclical. Alongside these two concepts there also exists an individual perception of the temporal dimension. Massimo Risi, an Italian working for the United Nations, comes to investigate unusual explosions. He is assigned an interpreter. Through his narrative we witness events and enter the world of the living and the dead, of reality and fantasy, of magic and the supernatural. How can one negotiate between the Europeans, for whom now is practically non-existent and the Mozambicans who, on one hand, lack a word for the future, which they perceive as something sacred and untouchable, while on the other the past has generated so much disappointment and inflicted so much pain that they simply wish it would fade into oblivion so they could create a new time? Yet, there is little hope for a new and brighter time unless they somehow overcome the traumatic war period and transform it into their time. This novel is about recovering the time lost in the past by relying on the wisdom of ancestors; it speaks of creating a new time, our time, and of man’s aspirations for a better future on the wings of flamingos signifying hope.
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