Alain Mabanckou LA Times photo

LA Times Book Jacket Copy, July 27th, 2017, 3:00PM

by Mark Athitakis
 
The acclaimed and prolific writer Alain Mabanckou, born in the Republic of Congo and now a professor in the French and Francophone Studies department at UCLA, uses biting humor to tweak this formula in his new novel, “Black Moses.” His hero is a 13-year-old living in an orphanage in the province of Loango who is indeed named Moses. More precisely, his full name is “Thanks be to God, the black Moses is born on the earth of our ancestors.” That mouthful was bestowed upon him by a priest who believed that having “the most kilometrically extended name in the entire orphanage” might be a source of inspiration.