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This month is Africa: Stories in the 55, Malagasy author Naivo, speaks about his historical saga, Beyond the Rice Fields, which weaves the beauty of Hainteny, a traditional form of Malagasy poetry, with the coming-of-age story of Tsito, a young slave, and his one love, Fara. Set in volatile 19th century Madagascar, both characters try to find their way amidst genocide and religious persecution.
Malagasy author Naivo talks about of the traditions of highland culture in Madagascar, and the extensive research he did in creating main character Tsito's world. The intricate smaller characters come to life as Tsito and Fara encounter them-- at home, on the road to the 'City of Thousands', aka Antananarivo, the country's capital, and even abroad, in England.