#10 Sleepwalking Land – Mia Couto


Sleepwalking Land


Mia Couto


Historical Fiction, Magic Realism


Easy. It’s an easy book to read.


Medium. It makes you want to know how the story unfolds but it doesn’t make stay up all night.



Title (Original)

Terra Sonâmbula

Year of Publication



Sleepwalking Land - Mia Couto

Short Description & Notes

Sleepwalking Land could be a real story, with real people, occurred in real Africa. However, the occasional appearance of mystical, magical contours, makes this a truly delicious novel, with many pearls of wisdom. We must read it slowly in order to appreciate the originality of its author through the characters and scenarios.

“On almost every page of this witty magical realist whodunit, we sense Couto’s delight on those places where language slips officialdom’s asphyxiating grasp.”—The New York Times Book Review on The Last Flight of the Flamingo

“The most prominent of the younger generation of writers in Portuguese-speaking Africa, Couto passionately and sensitively describes everyday life in poverty-stricken Mozambique.”—Guardian (London)

“Quite unlike anything else I have read from Africa.”—Doris Lessing

As the civil war rages in 1980s Mozambique, an old man and a young boy, refugees from the war, seek shelter in a burnt-out bus. Among the effects of a dead passenger, they come across a set of notebooks that tell of his life. As the boy reads the story to his elderly companion, this story and their own develop in tandem. Written in 1992, Mia Couto’s first novel is a powerful indictment of the suffering war brings.

Born in 1955 in Mozambique, Mia Couto ran the AIM news agency during the revolutionary struggle. He now lives in Maputo where he works as an environmental biologist and heads the Mozambique side of the Limpopo Transnational Park.” – Goodreads: Sleepwalking Land

Remarkable Quotes

“A terra anda à procura dentro de cada pessoa, anda a juntar os sonhos. Sim, faz conta que ela é uma costureira de sonhos.”

Fun Facts

The novel received the National Fiction Award from the Association of Mozambican Writers and was chosen as one of the twelve best African books of the 20th century by the panel of the Zimbabwe Book Fair.

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