So Long a Letter Background

So Long a Letter Background

So Long a Letter is a semi-autobiographical novel written in letter format by Mariama Bâ. It is a staple of classic women's literature classes, and also won the Noma Prize for Publishing in Africa in 1980.

The novel centers around the theme of women's roles in post-colonial Africa. It is told through the protagonist, Ramatoulaye Fall, writing a series of letters to her best friend Aissatou Bâ, beginning after Ramatoulaye's husband dies from a sudden heart attack. Through the letters, the readers find out about Ramatoulaye's complex relationship with her husband before and after her death, and her emotional journey and growth because of it.

So Long a Letter was well-received by critics, and remains a classic novel for analyzation in literature classes. Readers can discuss how Ramatoulaye's letters show women in a post-colonial African society, and how she follows/defies those expectations as the novel goes on.

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