Yves-Marie Stranger, Abyssinian rider in the Highlands



A French-English translator and writer, I am the editor of Ethiopia through writers’ eyes, and the author of  Ces pas qui trop vite s’effacent and also a contributing author to African train, the Djibouti-Ethiopia railway.


“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


My upcoming book , 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 from the Abyssinian Syllabary – or Abugida.



The Abyssinian Syllabary

[የግዕዝ ፈደላት]

Ethiopia in 33 Syllables



  The Abyssinian Syllabary  – A book by Yves-Marie Stranger – Autumn-Winter 2017 (for launch updates subscribe to the Uthiopia newsletter or follow @YMStranger).

። Read an excerpt 




The Abyssinian Syllabary (also known as the Abugida, or Fidelat)


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.

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


   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.



፴፫  (33) Lives-Letters

[From  to ፐ]


“At one time, Ts’ui Pen must have said: ‘I am going into seclusion to write a book,’ and at another, ‘I am retiring to construct a maze.’ Everyone assumed these were separate activities. No one realised that the book and the labyrinth were one and the same…”

                           The Garden of Forking Paths, Jorge Luis Borges



Read an excerpt of the Abyssinian Syllabary (Lives of Mentewab, Mengistu, Bariaw, Leone, Ewastewos, Evon, and the prologue of Manuel de Guèz).



፦  The Abyssinian Syllabary  – for publication updates subscribe to the Uthiopia newsletter or follow @YMStrangerRead an excerpt ።