Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s debut novel Tram 83, published by Editions Metailie in 2014, has received numerous awards and was among them longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2015 and awarded the Etisalat Prize for Literature. Referred to as a piece of literary world music, the rhythmically written novel by the Congolese author is focussing on the topic of post-colonialism. Celebrated for its narrative imagination and linguistic creativity, Tram 83 uses the rhythm of jazz to tell a story that takes place in what is known as a global village: the main location of the novel is Tram 83, a mixture of bar, nightclub and brothel of the 21st century in a fictional place, maybe somewhere in Equatorial Africa. While the urban space is militarily separated from the hinterland and diamond mines, Tram 83 is a place that brings together the most diverse kind of people. There, losers and winners, profiteers and prostitutes, ex-child soldiers and students, mineworkers and tourists are encountering each other. It is through his former best friend Requiem that the writer Lucien fleeing from blackmail and censorship in the hinterlands also ends up in the dirty and noisy Tram 83. When Lucien has a reading in Tram 83 in the middle of the night, the guests just want to get rid of him. But mixed up with the radio play the literature softly transforms into fragments of conversation, noise, melody, noise, and rhythm. After all, there is no peace, no silence in the world of Tram 83 making this novel rhythmic tale of life.
The book is available in German and French.