We publish four extraordinary novels in 2021, each one touching on the theme of Metamorphosis. Ovid, Shakespeare, Kafka, Ali Smith – transformation will always be a central literary theme.
The Lost Spell by Yismake Worku, trans. Bethlehem Attfield
Didimus Dore, a proud, respectable businessman from Addis Ababa, has turned himself into a dog.
Unable to remember the spell that will turn him back again, he finds refuge with a German woman working on a Chinese engineering project. Stripped of his status and language, he takes the road home to Addis, back to his wife and children; to find the spell. As he travels fearfully through the towns along the way, he sees Ethiopian history and politics from a new perspective. He struggles to keep himself at the centre of his world, despite his new reality.
Worku is renowned as a brilliant and influential young Ethiopian novelist. Bethlehem Attfield’s translation of The Lost Spell gives us a glimpse of a contemporary novelist redefining political satire within a radically different psychogeography.