Scarlet Song Background

Scarlet Song Background

Scarlet Song is a novel by notable author Mariama Bâ published in 1986 (2 years after her death). The novel, about a couple with ethical and cultural differences, garnered international and critical attention, and was nominated for a number of awards.

The plot of Scarlet Song focuses on the marriage between a European woman and an African man. The European woman, Mireille, is the daughter of a French diplomat. The African man, Ousmane, was born out of an impoverished Senegalese family. Mireille and Ousmane are relatively content with their marriage until Ousmane begins to practice the African tradition of polyamory, taking a second wife, and Mireille is horrified by this act. The book focuses on this conflict, emphasizing the importance, but also detrimentality of tradition.

Mariama Bâ was a prominent Senegalese author and feminist, born in 1929 in Dakar and dying in 1981. She also wrote So Long a Letter, which like its subsequent work Scarlet Song, was critically acclaimed.

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