Bite-size Review: Harare North | Brian Chikwava

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Harare North | Brian Chikwava

Now, I start this book thinking it will be like normal book, normal like African boy land in UK but struggle book. This book is normal but make your brain go turn on its head because it written in this kind of language. Zimbabwean street vernacular, you see? Sometimes you don’t understand what is happening because of words narrator use; foreign but specific to Zimbabwe street lingo. This book tells painful story of a young illegal immigrant boy without a name. His story be that kind of pain that makes you feel sad and angry. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Harare North | Brian Chikwava”

Interview with Valerie Brandes of Jacaranda Books

Valerie Brandes

At the beginning of the New Year in 2015, Afrikult. caught up with Valerie Brandes, the founder of Jacaranda Books, in the quaint and green suburbs of West Hampstead. Jacaranda Books is an independent publishing house that aims to create a platform for underrepresented voices from a wide cultural heritage, but with a particular focus on works related to Africa, Caribbean, and the Diaspora. Jacaranda was founded on January 2012 and judging by the wide array of subject matter, distinctive and diverse artistic provenance of its books, it’s safe to say that this small and young independent publishing house is certainly worth watching out for. Continue reading “Interview with Valerie Brandes of Jacaranda Books”

Bite-size Review: Wife Of The Gods | Kwei Quartey

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Wife Of The Gods | Kwei Quartey

Kwei Quartey immediately captures the reader’s attention in his debut novel Wife of the Gods throughout the easy-to-read, fast-paced and suspense ridden action. Seamlessly written and told, the story follows Detective Inspector Darko Dawson who is impetuously assigned from the Criminal Investigations Department Headquarters in Accra, to lead a murder investigation in the small town, Ketanu, and neighbouring village, Bedome, in Ghana’s Volta Region. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Wife Of The Gods | Kwei Quartey”

Bite-size Review: Foreign Gods, Inc. | Okey Ndibe

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Foreign Gods, Inc. | Okey Ndibe

Okey Ndibe explores the relationships between traditional Igbo religious systems and fervent Christian worshipers within contemporary contexts. Creatively subtle Ndibe’s exploration takes place with Ike’s story, a Nigerian middle-aged man, educated to degree level and a cab-driver in New York city. The measly earnings Ike makes from the cab service hardly keep him afloat the mounting bills and outstanding debts, the financial demands of his family in Nigeria, the recovery of his recent divorce, to cover his addiction to gambling and alcohol. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Foreign Gods, Inc. | Okey Ndibe”

Bite-size Review: Happiness, Like Water | Chinelo Okparanta

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Happiness, Like Water | Chinelo Okparanta

Chinelo Okparanta’s Happiness Like Water brings together a melange of short stories centred on contemporary issues faced by Nigerian women. In a powerful and lucid language, the lurid details of women subjected to the failings of a sexist society finds a voice. Whether trudging through the cruel accounts of domestic violence or sexual prejudice, the narrators tone maintain a compassionate composure that speaks volume of the continuing exploitation of women within male hegemonic structures. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Happiness, Like Water | Chinelo Okparanta”

Bite-size Review: Open City | Teju Cole

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Open City | Teju Cole

Exquisitely executed, Cole offers a fresh voice and talent to the African literature scene. His debut novel Open City presents an insight into a young Nigerian doctor who encounters and recollects conversations that he had with strangers and patients. Each conversation reveals meditation of history, social class, culture and the individual experience. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Open City | Teju Cole”

Bite-size Review: The Spider King’s Daughter | Chibundu Onuzo

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The Spider King’s Daughter | Chibundu Onuzo

Beautifully crafted with a youthful slant, this novel tells a story of two unsuspecting teenage lovers: Abikė Johnson, a wealthy and favourite daughter of a multi-business owner, and a hawker who remains unnamed throughout the novel. Written in a first person parallel narrative, both protagonists reveal the vast contrast in their lifestyles, worlds and experience of Lagos, Nigeria. This novel starts off with an innocent twist, a seemingly harmless and enchanting love story with themes similar to the traditional fairy tale, Princess and the Frog. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: The Spider King’s Daughter | Chibundu Onuzo”

Bite-size Review: Nervous Conditions | Tsitsi Dangarembga

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Nervous Conditions | Tsitsi Dangarembga

In the frenzy of cultural and social transformations driven primarily by colonialism, the central characters of Nervous Conditions seek to find or exercise a displaced or lost identity. Yet the path towards self-discovery and acceptance leads to self- destruction. Dangaremba’s work unpicks the complex layers underpinning colonized subjectivity and identity reconstruction. The book offers a critique of colonial patriarchy seen through the lenses of its female characters, who stand as fragments of embattled consciousness. Like a jury to imperial delinquency, it calls the reader to witness the plight of women of different generations immured in the turmoil of double oppression. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Nervous Conditions | Tsitsi Dangarembga”

Bite-size Review: The Slave Girl | Buchi Emecheta

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The Slave Girl | Buchi Emecheta

Much is known about the cruel system of slavery that blighted the African continent for almost 200 years. But in the Slave Girl, Emecheta turns our attention to the distinctive complexion of existing and cultural networks of slavery in Africa at the turn of the century. With her mastery of language and a gift for narrative, she brings to life the story of Objeta, an ill- fated ibuza girl sold to a wealthy aunt by her own brother. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: The Slave Girl | Buchi Emecheta”

Bite-size Review: So Long A Letter | Mariama Bâ

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So Long A Letter | Mariama Bâ

Set in an Islamic society in Senegal So Long a Letter recounts the intimate details of the breakdown of a marriage and the subsequent roller-coaster of emotions felt by an abandoned wife with 12 children to bring up alone. After 25 years of marriage the reason for this abrupt desertion is due to the husband’s choice to take a second, younger wife. Ramatoulaye confides her grief to her friend Aissatou in a series of letters which are markedly personal, retelling her inner most feelings and her struggle to come to terms with what her beloved husband, Modou, has done to her. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: So Long A Letter | Mariama Bâ”