The Last Flight of the Flamingo by Mia Couto

The Last Flight of the Flamingo

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.'

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