chapter  1
7 Pages

Mother’s talk

ByTrinh T.Minh-ha

Stupidity and memory. Talking brought three male-identified voices together while deferring their unity. The story presents itself as a piece of gossip that circulates from teller to teller. The man who narrates (Diop) implicitly warns the reader that he is quoting Amadou Koumba who actually got it from Golo-theHe-Monkey. Right at the outset, the question is raised as to the real source of such a gossip: if the reader can’t really tell whether Golo makes “sensible remarks” or whether he simply takes the lead in making people believe that he is the one to have made them, then whose opinion is it exactly? As the tale progresses, storytelling becomes increasingly reflexive and the reader is further led to ask: Who among the tellers is the real monkey? Whose stupidity is it finally? Here lies the power of indirection in which the tale weavers excel. Through the spell of words the latter must both resonate the comments passed on and fullfill the function of the tale, which is not merely to deliver a message, but rather to invite talk around it.