Title: Le piment des plus beaux jours (The Spice of Life) Author: Jérôme Nouhouaï ISBN: 978-2268069111 Year of publication: 2010 Pages: 338 Publisher: Le Serpent à Plumes (France) World English rights available.

Title: Le piment des plus beaux jours (The Spice of Life)

Author: Jérôme Nouhouaï

ISBN: 978-2268069111

Year of publication: 2010

Pages: 338

Publisher: Le Serpent à Plumes (France)

World English rights available.

Sharp, contemporary, accessible... and full of humour!
— Nathalie Carré, Africultures

Nelson Kangni is studying Law. He shares a one-bedroom flat with two fellow students: Jojo, an engineer, obsessed with girls and money, and Malcolm, a brooding Pan-African intellectual. Ordinarily conscientious, Nelson finds himself distracted by Josiane, the captivatingly beautiful daughter of a former government minister with a very watchful eye.

While Nelson takes a slow and serious approach to romance, the insatiable Jojo spends all his time in bed with a young servant from the town's richest household, and Malcolm is consumed by darker thoughts. He tells a dubious Nelson that treacherous, greedy Lebanese immigrants are the root of all Benin’s problems. When a Lebanese shopkeeper is attacked, another has his business torched, and a third is kidnapped and found dead, Nelson’s suspicions reluctantly turn to Malcolm.

This funny, fiercely ironic debut offers a rare portrait of student life in Benin, and a new take on racial tension and xenophobia.

Jérôme Nouhouaï was born in 1973, in Abomey, Benin. He has participated in the Caravane du livre, a project to promote reading in African schools, and currently works for a research institute in Benin. Nouhouaï has written two novels: Le piment des plus beaux jours (Le Serpent à Plumes, 2010), a darkly ironic portrait of student life in Benin, and La mort du lendemain (Présence Africaine, 2010), a revenge tale set against a backdrop of poverty, corruption and civil war. 

A beautiful novel from a promising talent, a real shot in the arm for literature in Benin.
— Florent Couao-Zotti