Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila is another unique look at a society that works in a way that might be detrimental to the overall future of the people that live in it. There is a thick tone of unease throughout it, which is mostly exemplified by the two main characters of Lucien and Requiem, who are arguably unlikeable characters who exhibit different types of traits in comparison to each other.
Requiem is the type of character that loves to live in luxury and he seems to be constantly seeking a better status, even socially. But even in the early stages of the book, he is shown to be living better than a lot of others: “Requiem lived in Vampiretown, a bourgeois neighborhood that stood on the road leading from the station to the town center. The apartment he rented was quite spacious for the modern day bachelor” (21). Right of the bat, we get the sense of how his life is and how he seeks to keep it. His mannerisms make it seem like he probably stepped over a lot of people to get to where he was and yet, he still wants much more.
Lucien is different from Requiem and seems to trudge through his days: “Lucien got out of bed at three in the afternoon. Requiem and the girls had already taken leave of him. He was groggy, rocked by nausea and migraines” (24). This actually sets the tone for the character and is quite heavily contrasted with Requiem throughout the book.
Both of these characters demonstrate qualities that might not be attractive to most normal people but they also contrast each other in showing how people of the two sides of one coin can be in the negative sense. It’s really interesting to see how Fiston Mwanza Mujila utilizes these two characters and uses them as a vehicle for the story that he is trying to tell.
– Bhavin Bhavsar