By Channing Joseph
July 22, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Prophet of Zongo Street

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  • Book

Ravaged by both revolution and poverty, the fictional residents of Zongo Street in Kumasi, Ghana, have their hands full: Crazy Kumi holds his book of esoteric wisdom and teaches his neighbors about the white man’s evil schemes; 12-year-old Yaro bears the curse of ”detecting death in people’s eyes”; and Mr. Rafique literally clutches his, um, manhood as he prepares — while the whole neighborhood waits and a specially appointed little old lady bears witness at his bedside — to disprove his new wife’s charge that he is an impotent ”pansy.” In The Prophet of Zongo Street, Mohammed Naseehu Ali skillfully crafts characters whose warmth and familiarity entice the reader. But too often, his stories’ endings fall flat, leaving wisps of dissatisfaction lingering in the West African air.

The Prophet of Zongo Street

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