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"The Coup" describes violent events in the imaginary African nation of Kush, a large, landlocked, drought-ridden, sub-Saharan country led by Colonel Hakim Felix Ellellou. ("A leader," writes Colonel Ellellou, "is one who, out of madness or goodness, takes upon himself the woe of a people. There are few men so foolish.") Colonel Ellellou has four wives, a silver Mercedes, and a fanatic aversion--cultural, ideological, and personal--to the United States. But the U.S. keeps creeping into Kush, and the repercussions of this ...

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Sep 12, 2009

Not your usual Updike

This is the opposite of realism. Updike got a fellowship to go to Africa during the Sahel drought, and wrote about a third-world dictator who is a graduate of a midwestern college (Lawrence University, maybe?), whose main policy goal is to make it rain, and who is deeply in love with all four of his wives. I read it twice.

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