Reading Guide: Transparent City

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1. The eternally running waters on the building’s first floor become a place where the residents can gather. What other signs of community do you see in the building?

2. The novel is written with unconventional punctuation and contains many cross-cultural and cross-linguistic misunderstandings and jokes. What do you think this says about the relationship between Western society and life in Luanda?

3. The plan to drill for oil in the middle of the city makes fun of the way the modern world is dominated by the oil industry. What specific criticisms of the oil industry do you think it raises?

4. Senhor Adviser is another aspect of Ondjaki’s satire. What issues in government do you think this character is intended to critique?

5. How did you react to Odonato floating away at the novel’s conclusion? What are some of the causes of his weightlessness?

6. Did reading this novel change your image of Africa? If so, how? If not, why not?