Considering that Xala was written in the 1970s, it is a surprisingly frank discussion of male & female societal, marital, & sexual relationships in the days of post-colonial Senegal (which gained independence in 1960). It's a dark satire, a harsh parable that shows the clash between old, traditional African ways and the newer, post-colonial, 'Europeanized' ways. For such a short book, it touches on many themes: sexuality, religion, business, corruption, language, gender roles, societal levels & roles, traditions vs. new ideas, questions as to whether or not a former colony is really 'free' from its former occupiers, etc.... Apparently, the book was also made into a movie in the 1970s & the book includes some black & white stills from the movie throughout, giving some nice visuals to the story. I've read very little African literature & am currently working on a 'continental' reading challenge; this novella has given me an interesting peek into an area of the world about which I know very little. 3.5 stars.