The Last Flight of the Flamingo

by Mia Couto

Everyone in the village of Tizangara has a different story to tell to explain the recent bizarre deaths of some UN peacekeepers. Some are fantastical, others bawdy, whilst some are beautifully poetic. I really enjoyed the challenge of playing detective and gradually piecing together my own version of events. But in this book the myth-makers reveal a different deeper truth than a mere investigator can ever hope to find.


Massimo gingerly entered a gloomy reception hall. A thousand eyes popped and watched the white man going into the guesthouse. In front of a counter covered in old newspapers, the Italian asked:

'Could you tell me how many stars this establishment has?'


The receptionist assumed the man wasn't conversant with good Portuguese and smiled condescendingly:

'My good sir: at this hour, we haven't any stars here'.

The foreigner turned towards me, asking for help. I stepped forward and explained what the visitor wanted. He wanted to know what the facilities were. The receptionist needed no further encouragement:

'The facilities? Now that is a complex question because at the present time, the facilities are not the result of forward planning.'

Translated by David Brookshaw


One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Girl who Married a Lion by Alexander McCall Smith

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