“I found this from a web essay. It might help explain, the content of this book and Sibhat's way of thinking
Sexual frankness in naturalism vs Ethiopian reader
Sibhat’s novels were published long after the time they are written. It is their sexual frankness, unlike the conservative Ethiopian culture which holds that sexual matters must be repressed, that held the books from publication. Some close friends of him like Demissie Tsige have tried to censor the books such as Tikusat (fever) and made them fit for publication. But the censorship couldn’t save the books and the author from criticism.
There are literature scholars that attribute the style of the books and their frank sexual depiction to the naturalism literary style of Emile Zola, for whose works Sibhat had close exposure while he was in France.
In his naturalistic writings, Zola himself argued that his special contribution to the art of fiction was the application to the creation of characters and plot of the scientific method. The new “scientific novel” would be created by placing characters with known inherited characteristics into a carefully defined environment and observing the resulting behaviour.
“Zola further tends to create his principal characters as representative types rather than striking individuals. He also places great emphasis on people acting in groups, and is one of the few great writers of mob scenes. Humanity in the mass is one of his chief subjects, and his individuals are selected to illustrate aspects of society,” remarks the on line journal of literary criticism.
According to Wondwossen Adane, who gave a literary criticism on the uncensored version of “Letum Ayinegalign,” the characters in the novel are frail and disabled that arrouse one’s sympathy and at the same time anger. What we understand directly (not implicitly) from the novel’s presentation is that they are adulterers who gathered in an escape from their loneliness and so are labourers in search of their daily bread.
Moreover, perhaps it’s Zola’s depiction of sexual functions as they are which is reflected in Sibhat’s works. Because of this frankness, his works were often banned, regarded as a little more than pornography.
Sibhat’s works, Tikusat (fever), Sebategnaw Melak (The seventh angel) and Letum Ayinegalign were marked as breaking with existing Ethiopian literary forms and enhanced his repution for his graphic dipiction of sex.”
Biruk E wrote this review Thursday, February 10, 2011.