After ten years of developing the story, Lebanese-African novelist Dr. Georges Zreik finally published La Légende of Awaporé-O-Tou ou Après Bételgeuse, the third book which he authored.
Through this book, Dr. Zreik wanted to share the idea of “an astronomical event that would be the beginning and the end of the human cycle”.
For the Lebanese-African 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 revolves around 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, Dr. Zreik 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, by 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 combines style, science, and poetry, Dr. Zreik wanted to put nature and Africa “back in their rightful place in the history of humans […] 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”.
Consequently, the title of the novel reflects on astronomy, using Betelgeuse, a star in the constellation of Orion, a “star at the end of its life”, as the author specifies.
He adds that Awaporé is the name of the constellation of Orion in Baoulé, as proof that people in West Africa were aware of astronomy before colonization.
Dr. Geroges Zreik, born in 1950 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, is an orthopedic surgeon. After finishing his primary school years in Africa, he left for Lebanon for his secondary school, which he finished in Abidjan.
He went to the Lycée Classique where he obtained his baccalaureate. After finishing his school education, Dr. Zreik began his medical journey at the University of Abidjan and completed them at the Faculty of Medicine of Amiens in France.
Specializing in orthopedic and traumatic surgery, he practiced in France, then in Beirut, and finally in Abidjan.
But his passion for literature only grew. In 2002, he started writing and published La Rose des Vents, which won the Bernard Dadié Grand Prize for Literature.
His second book, A la Poursuite d’Aurore awarded Zreik the honorable mention in Noma Award 2005, in South Africa.
The Legend of Awaporé-O-Tou is now shortlisted for the Orange Book Prize in Africa (2022). The Lebanese novelist also received the honorary prize during the 2021 Ivory Prize Award, in Abidjan.