J. R Little. Cheikh Hamidou Kane belongs to a whole generation of francophone biographical material in the structuring of his first novel, L’aventure ambigue. L’aventure ambigue is an interesting book that tells the story of Samba Diallo. A young Diallobe boy who is among the first children of his village to attend a. L’aventure AmbiguĂ« De Cheikh Hamidou Kane [Ambigue] has 2 ratings and 0 reviews: 95 pages.

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Ambiguous Adventure by Cheikh Hamidou Kane. The complete review ‘s Review:. Cheikh Hamidou Kane’s Ambiguous Adventure is a fairly early novel of an African travelling to Europe to study and the resultant clash between traditional African values in this case also: Islamic values and those of the West.

Ambiguous Adventure

Diallo’s background and biography is, in its outlines, very similar to Kane’s. The story begins when Diallo is a youngster and a student at a Koranic school, the Glowing Hearth. A smart boy, he impresses his teacher greatly “What purity! Truly, this child was a gift from God.

L’Aventure ambiguĂ« – Wikipedia

There is change afoot, however: Education is also at the centre of change, and one of the issues facing the locals is whether or not to send their children to the foreigners’ schools. Diallo’s “elderly cousin”, a sort of family matriarch called the Most Royal Lady, believes that the children should learn from the invaders: If there is a risk, they are best prepared to cope successfully with it, because they are most firmly attached to what hamiduo are.

So the decision is made to send Diallo there, a radical change from the religious education he had been receiving until then. The Most Royal Lady recognizes the risks in sending the boy and others like him avenfure to such schools: The school in which I would place our children will kill in them what today we love and rightly conserve with care.


Perhaps the very memory of us will die in them.

When they return from the school, there may be those who will not recognize us. The first part of the book describes what is essentially this battle for the youth’s mind and soul. The second part is the set largely in Paris, where Diallo goes to university — though the same issues still hanut him.

He is not one of those who don’t recognize their elders and their heritage after learning from the French; instead, he finds himself torn between the two. The Europeans look to be part of the inevitable future, but he is also drawn to his African roots and the past.

Diallo’s religious teacher sees only the one way: Diallo, however, never entirely forsakes his religious upbringing, remaining a good Muslim praying as prescribed, abstaining from alcohol, etc. He reads Pascal “Of the men of the West, he is certainly the most reassuring” and thinks he sees some positives in the advancements brought by European civilization. His father maintains otherwise: Man has never been so unhappy as at this moment when he is accumulating so much. For man’s welfare and happiness we must have the presence and the guarantee of God.

But he is grateful that he at least has an awareness of “the reality of a non-Western universe” and he pities those who don’t have it, alienated without anything to fall back on a Sartrean alienation perhaps not being so unusual in the France of that time. There’s a certain elegance to much of this Ambiguous Adventurebut the novel is also too simplistic in its message — and too focussed on the religious.


It’s not an even playing field, as the author clearly sides with tradition — which in this case is almost entirely based in religion. God offers all the easy answers: Kane even has a Shakespearean fool-character who brings the point home on several occasions.

Diallo deludes himself into believing: He even has the gall to state he would achieve “rational understanding” of something that is entirely irrational. Diallo believes religion offers spiritual fulfilment and seems convinced that it is all that man needs to be whole — but he has an excuse for not finding or achieving that fulfilment, as he has been corrupted by the West. It’s an ugly message and an ugly illusion.

The book does hold out hope for true enlightenment and salvation in a last chapter after Diallo has cheih out — but it is only in what must be presumed to be his death that liberation from mundane matters and all that is terrible about our earth-bound existence can be found: Ambiguous Adventure remains a book of both historic and literary interest, but it’s religious focus is a terrible limitation — though given resurgent fundamentalism of Christian, Muslim, and other sorts Kane may merely be expressing what are again widely-held sentiments.

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Ambiguous Adventure – US. Ambiguous Adventure – UK.

Ambiguous Adventure – Canada. Ambiguous Adventure – India. Der Zwiespalt des Samba Diallo – Deutschland. L’ambigua avventura – Italia.