“Like all those possessing a library, Aurelian was aware that he was guilty of not knowing his in its entirety.”

The Theologians, Jorge Luis Borges


You may be an armchair traveller, or a visitor to Ethiopia. Perhaps you are a farenj living in Addis Ababa, or a Minnesota dwelling Ethiopian – But you most certainly are a reader of all things  Ethiopian.


Subscribe to our mailing list – Dispatches from Uthiopia – Monthly  notes on Ethiopian books, as well as updates on the publication of  The Abyssinian Syllabary (extract) and a selection of the best Ethiopian cultural links gleaned from the web and other Apocrypha from Mount Abora.


(Subscribers  also receive a rare version of Aleqa Gebré Haq’s celebrated Ethiopia in a blue and white nutshell.)


But if you only read one book about Ethiopia, then do read…


Ethiopia through writers’ eyes

“Yves-Marie Stranger, a writer and translator, has compiled a collection of extracts of fiction and non-fiction about Ethiopia of a rare depth.”

The Times Literary Supplement


Ethiopia through writers’ eyes – the  anthology of all things Ethiopian, from Herodotus to Emperor Theodoros, by way of Evelyn Waugh and Afewerk Gebre Yesus (and Edgar Allen Poe & Mussolini – anthologies do make for strange bedfellows).

Here, you will find an assortment that provide a rich and diverse array of Ethiopia through the ages. 80 authors, six introductory essays and a chronology. You can buy the book with its publisher Eland, or here on Amazon. You can even purchase it on Kindle.

But, perhaps you’d like to delve deeper into the abyss of Ethiopian Studies – how do politics proceed in Ethiopia? How is Ethiopian society evolving as it urbanises at a giddy speed? (and what indeed are Ethiopian Studies?).


In that case, read on, for the Ethiopian library is vaster than most and, such as the universe itself, in continuous expansion:

 Books  that will  help you understand Ethiopia

(Do visit the library regularly as the list below will be regularly updated… (Á suivre)


The Abyssinian Syllabary [የግዕዝ ፈደላትor, Ethiopia in 33 Syllables . A new book by Yves-Marie Stranger:



The Abyssian Syllabary spells out the history of Ethiopia through a series of  33  vignettes of emblematic Ethiopian lives – with each life corresponding to one of the main 33 symbols of the Abyssinian Syllabary – or Abugida.

Part historical fiction, part magic scroll, the Abyssinian Syllabary  breathes a new life into the characters of the great Ethiopian palimpsest.

፨  The story begins when the author receives an outline posted by the enigmatic J-M Cornu de Lenclos, shortly before his early demise in a room of the Royal Raffles Hotel in Phnom Penh. The missive contains thumbnail sketches of a clutch of Ethiopian figures, associated to numerological annotations from a forgotten work of the French anthropologist Marcel Griaule, L’Arithnomancie Ethiopienne.

After perusing at leisure  some choice pages of  the Ethiopian bibliotheca, the Syllabary  culminates in an excursion to  Mount Kaka, a 4 000 M high peak located in the Rift Valley, where an unlikely pataphysician* monument is at long last unveiled.

   Spelling ou the  many lives of  Victor Lazlo [], Rimbaud [], King Théodore [], the Monk Théodore [], Munziger Pasha [], Alessandro Zorzi [],  Arab Faquih [], Leonard Cohen [], Umm Delombera [], Menfus Kiddus [] and  more…    And with a prologue by the distinguished scholar Manuel de Guèz.


Read an extract here.

For updates on the publishing schedule of  The Abyssinian Syllabary, subscribe to Dispatches from Uthiopia.


*The science of imaginary solutions which symbolically attributes the properties of objects, described by their virtuality, to their lineaments. More: Wikipedia.