NNA - After ten years of gestation, "The legend of Awaporé-O-Tou or After Betelgeuse" is finally brought out. This is the third book through which the author, Dr. Georges Zreik, wanted to share the following idea, "that of an astronomical event which would be the beginning and the end of the human cycle". For the novelist, “the memory of this event would be preserved by the “guardians of memory” in the form of a legend, in a village located in the north of the Ivory Coast”.
The novel focuses mainly on the link between the pharaonic legend of Noun and the legend of Awapore-O-Tou. As part of a literary café organized by the Association “Point de Lecture”, in November 2021, the author explains that "the legend of Awaporé is at the very beginning of the Egyptian legend of Noun, which relates to the principles of order and disorder ". He adds that “this book is an odyssey through the last 12,000 years of the history of humanity and planet Earth. A journey that began and ended in Africa, in accordance with the cyclical spirituality of the continent, in opposition to the linear evolution of the current world which aspires to profit, and which is dominated by large financial groups”.
Through his novel, which mixes, in its style, scientific rigor and poetic sensibility, Dr. Zreik wanted to “put nature and Africa back in their rightful place, in the history of humans”. During the literary café mentioned above, the author says he wants “to show people that not only human beings and nature have their cycle and end of life, but also the stars and the whole world that surrounds us”. Moreover, the title of the novel is indicative of this reference to astronomy: Betelgeuse is a star in the constellation of Orion, a “star at the end of its life”, as the author specifies. Awaporé is none other than the name of the constellation of Orion in Baoulé, "proof that black Africa, and, more precisely, West Africa (the Ivory Coast) were aware of astronomy long before the slavery and colonization era.
Multiple growing successes for Dr. Zreik
After "La Rose des vents" which won the Bernard Dadié Grand Prize for Literature, at the Abidjan International Book Fair and "A la poursuite d'Aurore" for which the author was awarded the honourable mention at Noma Award 2005, in South Africa, "The legend of Awaporé-O-Tou" is today shortlisted for the Orange Book Prize in Africa (2022). Dr. Zreik also owes all his works the honorary prize he received during the awarding of the 2021 Ivory Prize, in Abidjan.
Born in 1950 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Georges I. Zreik is an orthopaedic surgeon. He started primary school at Grand-Bassam school, in the south-east of the country, before continuing it in Gagnoa, in the centre-west. He then left for Lebanon to start his secondary school there, which he finished in Abidjan, first at the Jean Mermoz College, then at the Lycée Classique where he obtained his baccalaureate. He began his medical studies at the University of Abidjan and completed them at the Faculty of Medicine of Amiens (France). Specialized in orthopaedic and traumatic surgery, he practiced in France, then in Beirut (Lebanon) and finally in Abidjan. Passionate about literature, Georges I. Zreik, a great reader and almost bibliophile, started writing and published “La Rose des vents”, his first book, in 2002.