This essay considers the child-soldier figure in contemporary African fiction as a vehicle for a critique of modernity as a particular time consciousness and of its attendant geopolitics. In the work of novelists Ahmadou Kourouma, Chris Abani, Abdourahman Waberi, and others, experiments in narrative temporality and an explicit negation of the temporality of Bildung represent the vexed relationship to futurity in those regions of the global South most disadvantaged by the long history of their entanglement with modernity. Yet, in these works, this turning away from the temporality of modernity instantiated in the Bildungsroman is not about turning away from futurity itself. Instead, the child-soldier figure yokes together a critical attention to the historical impediments to African futures with an insistence on the possibility of alternative futures.

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