Set against the backdrop of globalisation, The Kindness of Enemies is an intelligent, complex and inventive novel that deals with the ravages of cultural estrangement. The lives of five characters (Anna, Shalim, Natasha, Oz and Malak) are intricately threaded together by their experience of politics, religion and culture. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: The Kindness Of Enemies | Leila Aboulela”
Witty, shy and quirky were the three words that came to mind upon meeting Irenosen Okojie. Her début novel Butterfly fish, found its way to my desk- unannounced. Replacing my customary pick- me- up, I was intoxicated by its rich imaginative ardour. Butterfly fish by Irenosen Okojie came out in 2016 and is a smooth literary hooch, with a dark personality and complex finish.
A worthy and compelling collection of women’s struggles throughout the generations- from our great grandmothers to present. This gem elucidates the resilience and tenacity of the human spirit. In each story, regardless of the circumstance, each woman and girl wins on her own terms, singularly and collectively. There is no victimisation, no shaming but rather a showcase of variable strengths and quiet achievements. Exploring stories from all regions of the continent and diaspora, the collection really does open space for women to be celebrated, discussed and enamoured. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Opening Spaces: Contemporary African Women’s Writing | Edited By Yvonne Vera”
Hahahahaha- chuckles and elating guffaws is what best characterizes this brilliant piece of comedy. The Blinkards by Sekyi Kobina afflicts the reader with fits of unbridled laughter intermittent by painful episodes of tearful revelations. The play satirizes the damaging influence of western culture on African societies. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: The Blinkards | Kobina Sekyi”
Enchanting readers with the eloquence of a griot, Irenosen Okojie’s début novel Butterfly Fish brings to life the magic of story telling. In a spellbinding saga of love, deceit, guilt and atonement, it tells of the scourge of the sins of the ancestors upon the coming generation. A brass head forge out of blood, seeks retribution from succeeding heirs, tearing families apart and destroying livelihoods. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Butterfly Fish | Irenosen Okojie”
Translation is a mammoth but necessary task. Oftentimes the translator, who also acts as the mediator between the text and it’s designated readers, brings his or her own understanding to the original text being translated. Though a growing feature within African literature, it is less still talked about. Afrikult. caught up with Dr. Ida Hadjivayanis in 2016 to discuss her Kiswahili translation Alisi Ndani ya Nchi ya Ajabu, of Alice In Wonderland written by Lewis Carroll. Continue reading “Interview with Dr. Ida Hadjivayanis on Kiswahili Translation”
Where many have fallen short, Elnathan John’s debut novel Born on a Tuesday completes the dramatisation of insurgency in Nigeria with dark wit, poise and captivating simplicity. Dantala, a Muslim boy, like many hustlers on the streets of Northern Nigeria teeters on the verge of survival. Beginning with the loss of his friend Banda, which propels his escape from a life of petty political crimes into the paternal bosom of Sheikh Jamal, a new chapter ensues. Yet fate has more in store to test his resolve. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Born on a Tuesday | Elnathan John”
Upon winning the 2015 Etisalat prize for literature, for his novel Tram 83, Fiston Mwanza Mujila has been on the lips of many literary pundits and enthusiasts as a rising star. As we impatiently await the announcement of the Man Booker Prize shortlist 2016, many speculate whether the name Fiston Mwanza Mujila will once again emerge out of the judges’ hat. In spite of this, it is best to remind ourselves that it is not so much the prizes that defines a good piece of literature, but the originality of form and ingenuity. In Tram 83, the writer works into his novel the rhythm of jazz and soul, with tenors of thrilling fast pace Afro beat like action, sketching a captivating portrait of the human landscape. In the words of the famous novelist Alain Mabanckou, “When I turned the last page, I exclaimed: This is a masterpiece!”
In the dark pits of civil warfare, Chris Abani mimes a human poetry; of love and redemption. My Luck, a twelve- year- old boy recounts his travails as a child soldier tasked with the perilous job of a mine detector. Through his journey across the wretched terrain of human wreckage and ruin, we hear the cries of the human soul as it yields to the lust of hate and violence. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Song For Night | Chris Abani”
The interweaving of the personal, political and historical in such a way that engages the reader is a difficult feat to pull off convincingly in a novel. The fact that Elleke Boehmer manages this so seamlessly, is thanks in large part to the depth of her characters, especially Ella. Ella is engaging because she is believable in all her idiosyncratic strengths and oddities. She is a child caught between two broken people; an angry, thwarted father, embittered by what he sees as Europe’s moral decay, and a mother in a state of constant anxiety and mourning for Holland, and the dead sister whose husband she ultimately married.