The Aquatic Woman: The Role of Water and the Feminine Divine in Mia Couto’s Terra Sonâmbula

Maisha Mitchell


Mia Couto's 1992 novel, Terra Sonâmbula, is known for its use of fantastic realism to convey the horrors of the Mozambican civil war and their effects. The supernatural invades the daily experience of the novel’s characters, and these move from the known world into a frequently aqueous and spiritual one. In this essay, I examine Couto's use of water, the supernatural, and the feminine and link these to African religious and cosmological origins. I see Couto's use of the black feminine aqueous divine as an alternate form of national history that gives voice to those who often go unheard in the chaos of war, particularly women and children.


Mozambique; Spirituality; Women; Violence; Postcolonialism

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