Over the past few months, several Africans have come up with great novels that have received rave reviews. It is important that we get to know these novels. In my previous discussions, I talked about how relatively prolific African writers have become. Here are a selection of three and I will post what has been written about them since I have not read them myself:
- Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi [Ghana/Nigeria/UK]. According to the Diana Evans in The Guardian: [Ghana Must Go] stands up to the hype. Taiye Selasi writes with glittering poetic command, a sense of daring, and a deep emotional investment in the lives and transformations of her characters. There is a lot of crying in this novel, lots of corporeal observations of the pain inflicted by social experience and the ties of love. But the tears flow lightly through passages of gorgeous description and psychological investigation, leaving behind a powerful portrait of a broken family – "a family without gravity" – in the throes of piecing itself back together. The Guardian reports that Taiye was mentored by Toni Morrison and endorsed by Salman Rushdie. She is Yale- and Oxford-educated, half-Nigerian and half-Ghanaian, born in London, raised in Boston, living in Rome.
- Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie [Nigeria/US]. Americanah will be Adichie's third full-length novel and fourth book (after Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun (both novels), and the short story anthology, The Thing around Your Neck). According to a review by Elizabeth Day in The Guardian: It is ostensibly a love story – the tale of childhood sweethearts at school in Nigeria whose lives take different paths when they seek their fortunes in America and England – but it is also a brilliant dissection of modern attitudes to race, spanning three continents and touching on issues of identity, loss and loneliness. ... Gratifyingly, does not disappoint. The New York Times concludes its review saying: “Americanah” is witheringly trenchant and hugely empathetic, both worldly and geographically precise, a novel that holds the discomfiting realities of our times fearlessly before us. It never feels false.
- Tomorrow I'll be Twenty by Alain Mabanckou [Congo/France]. Mabanckou is one author whose books I have been on the search for but which I have not yet obtained. He wrote African Psycho and The Broken Glass. In a review in The Guardian, Maya Jaggi writers: Mabanckou's portrait of the artist shows the boy grappling with the schisms and hypocrisy of the adult world. He struggles to tell communists from capitalists. His Uncle René, who bins Victor Hugo for writing that "Africa has no history", keeps a photo of Lenin. René says he's a communist, but changes cars every six months and steals his sisters' inheritance with a nod to ancestral male prerogative. As the boy sees it, "Perhaps if you're rich in this life, you always want to be richer, and you stop noticing that the people around you have nothing."
Alain Mabanckou's book was brought to my notice by Winstonsdad's Blog. I know there are several books out there, however these three are likely to set the reading world ablaze this year. Taiye's book will be launched on July 17, 2013 at 7 PM at the Movempick Hotel in Ghana.