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The Villain's Dance

The Villain's Dance

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By Fiston Mwanza Mujila
Translated from the French by Roland Glasser

Full of wit, music, and a rollicking cast of characters, The Villain's Dance shows Fiston Mwanza Mujila is back with a bang.

Publication Date: March, 12th 2024

Paperback: 9781646051274
eBook: 9781646051281


Zaire. Late 90's. Mobutu's thirty-year reign is tottering. In Lubumbashi, the stubbornly homeless Sanza has fallen in with a trio of veteran street kids led by the devious Ngungi. A chance encounter with the mysterious Monsieur Guillaume seems to offer a way out . . . Meanwhile in Angola, Molakisi has joined thousands of fellow Zairians hoping to make their fortunes hunting diamonds, while Austrian Franz finds himself roped into writing the memoirs of the charismatic Tshiamuena, the "Madonna of the Cafunfo Mines." Things are drawing to a head, but at the Mambo de la Fête, they still dance the Villain's Dance from dusk till dawn.

Biographical Note

Fiston Mwanza Mujila was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1981 and lives today in Austria. His debut novel, Tram 83, published in English in 2015 by Deep Vellum (translation by Roland Glasser), won the Etisalat Prize for Literature and the German International Literature Award, and was longlisted for the International Booker Prize and the Prix littéraire du Monde. In addition to the poetry collection The River in the Belly (published by Deep Vellum in 2021, translation by J. Bret Maney), he is the author of the poetry collections Craquelures (2011) and Soleil privé de mazout (2016), as well as three plays, Et les moustiques sont des fruits à pépins (2015), Te voir dressé sur tes deux pattes ne fait que mettre de l’huile sur le feu (2015), and Zu der Zeit der Königinmutter (2018). His writing responds to political turbulence in his native country and frequently foregrounds its debt to jazz.

Roland Glasser grew up in London, studied French and Theatre Studies at Aberystwyth University (Wales) and Film and Dramatic Arts at the University of Caen (Normandy), before spending a decade living in Paris, where he developed a successful career in translation, literary editing, and theater lighting design. His translation of Adéline Dieudonné’s best-selling Real Life was shortlisted for the Scott-Moncrieff Prize. He has contributed articles and essays to a range of publications and is a co-founder of The Starling Bureau, a London-based collective of literary translators.


"Mujila’s virtuosic narrative shifts, feverish magical realism, and dizzying chronological leaps make for an intoxicating reading experience. This complex tale bears exquisite fruit." Publishers Weekly

Praise for The River in the Belly (translated by J. Bret Maney):

"A riotous and incandescent exploration of violent cartographies and colonial imaginaries." —Jay Gao, Poetry Foundation

Praise for Tram 83 (translated by Roland Glasser):

"The writing has the pulsing, staccato rhythms of Beat poetry." —Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

"A riotous look at the underbelly of life." The Guardian