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Africa's strong tradition of storytelling has long been an expression of an oral narrative culture. African writers such as Amos Tutuola, Naguib Mahfouz, Wole Soyinka and J. M. Coetzee have adapted these older forms to develop and enhance the genre of the novel, in a shift from the oral mode to print. Comprehensive in scope, these new essays cover the fiction in the European languages from North Africa and Africa south of the Sahara, as well as in Arabic. They highlight the themes and styles of the African novel through an examination of the works that have either attained canonical status - an entire chapter is devoted to the work of Chinua Achebe - or can be expected to do so. Including a guide to further reading and a chronology, this is the ideal starting-point for students of African and world literatures.