Longlisted for the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction • A Finalist for the Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize • One of Publishers Weekly's Writers to Watch • One of The Millions' and Refinery 29's Most Anticipated Books of the Year • One of the Best Black Heritage Reads (Essence Magazine) Loving thy neighbor is easier said than done. Hortensia James and Marion Agostino are neighbors. One is black, the other white. Both are successful women with impressive careers. Both have recently been widowed, and are living with questions, disappointments, and secrets that have brought them shame. And each has something that the woman next door deeply desires. Sworn enemies, the two share a hedge and a deliberate hostility, which they maintain with a zeal that belies their age. But, one day, an unexpected event forces Hortensia and Marion together. As the physical barriers between them collapse, their bickering gradually softens into conversation, which yields a discovery of shared experiences. But are these sparks of connection enough to ignite a friendship, or is it too late to expect these women to change? The U.S. debut of a finalist for the Etisalat Prize for Literature, The Woman Next Door is a winning story of the common ground we sometimes find in unexpected places, told with wit and wry humor.
Leke is a troubled young man living in the suburbs of Cape Town. He develops strange habits of stalking people, stealing small objects and going from doctor to doctor in search of companionship rather than cure. Through a series of letters written to him by his Nigerian father whom he has never met, Leke learns about a family curse; a curse which his father had unsuccessfully tried to remove. BOM BOY is a well-crafted, and complex narrative written with a sensitive understanding of both the smallness and magnitude of a single life.
Author: Chris Brazier
Publisher: New Internationalist
Release Date: 2009
A collection of twenty-three short stories from around the world includes contributions by such authors as Nigeria's Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, India's Lucinda Nelson Dhavan, and Botswana's Lauri Kubuitsile.
Here, in these places ... There is no money. It is hard for you to understand, but there is not even a coin sometimes. There is only dust.' He paused and stared at me and his eyes were hard. 'It has become a very costly human urge,' he said, 'this thirst.' I looked away. 'There is opposition,' he said. 'Small bands of men and boys who attack the reservoirs. Many are killed. Others leave for the city. Like me. I left. I joined the army because they were asking for men. Then I became a company guard, to guard the water against my own people.' In a country long gripped and devastated by drought, water has become the priceless commodity over which a deadly war is being waged. In remote towns and villages, far from the safety of the city, the resistance does what it can to oppose the company whose guards ruthlessly secure and control the water supply, but each small victory merely seems like one more step towards eventual defeat. When an unexpected rain leads a group of water security guards to a town long since thought abandoned, they find an old woman, identified only as Mother, and four girls in a classroom. A journalist, two aid workers and a doctor arrive soon afterwards, and what they discover defies ordinary explanation. When strange, dislocated fragments of Mother's story appear in the media, a young writer is intrigued enough to set off on a journey to find her, a journey that will take her deep into the heart of a broken country in search of a truth that no one wants uncovered.
In 12 hours, your life could change forever, as Zizi discovers. On the night preceding his Student Representative Council presidential manifesto, and not for the first time, Zizi physically abuses his cheating girlfriend, Pamodi. But Pamodi flees. During a night that turns out to be the longest in Zizi’s memory, instead of writing the manifesto speech, the reader follows the anxiety-stricken politician in his race against time and cover of the night, as he searches the campus for his missing girlfriend. While Zizi is haunted by the fear that Pamodi might expose him for what he really is, forever damaging his pristine image as the favourite presidential candidate, Pamodi evades detection, and is nowhere to be found. In the morning, the speech he delivers is not anything anyone could have expected from an SRC star: it is a litany of confessions for his questionable integrity and violence. As Zizi’s words fade, and a sense of shock lingers in the air, he is faced with the reality of his actions; as they realise that they may vote a highly flawed man into office, how will these students vote? What will it mean, either way?
A stunning novel, spanning generations and continents, Ghana Must Go by rising star Taiye Selasi is a tale of family drama and forgiveness, for fans of Zadie Smith and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This is the story of a family -- of the simple, devastating ways in which families tear themselves apart, and of the incredible lengths to which a family will go to put itself back together. It is the story of one family, the Sais, whose good life crumbles in an evening; a Ghanaian father, Kweku Sai, who becomes a highly respected surgeon in the US only to be disillusioned by a grotesque injustice; his Nigerian wife, Fola, the beautiful homemaker abandoned in his wake; their eldest son, Olu, determined to reconstruct the life his father should have had; their twins, seductive Taiwo and acclaimed artist Kehinde, both brilliant but scarred and flailing; their youngest, Sadie, jealously in love with her celebrity best friend. All of them sent reeling on their disparate paths into the world. Until, one day, tragedy spins the Sais in a new direction. This is the story of a family: torn apart by lies, reunited by grief. A family absolved, ultimately, by that bitter but most tenuous bond: familial love. Ghana Must Go interweaves the stories of the Sais in a rich and moving drama of separation and reunion, spanning generations and cultures from West Africa to New England, London, New York and back again. It is a debut novel of blazing originality and startling power by a writer of extraordinary gifts. 'Ghana Must Go is both a fast moving story of one family's fortunes and an ecstatic exploration of the inner lives of its members. With her perfectly-pitched prose and flawless technique, Selasi does more than merely renew our sense of the African novel: she renews our sense of the novel, period. An astonishing debut' Teju Cole, author of Open City Taiye Selasi was born in London and raised in Massachusetts. She holds a B.A. in American Studies from Yale and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Oxford. "The Sex Lives of African Girls" (Granta, 2011), Selasi's fiction debut, appears in Best American Short Stories 2012. She lives in Rome.
A New York Times Notable Book The New York Times’ Critics’ Top Books of the Year Named a Best Book of the Year by San Francisco Chronicle, National Public Radio, The Economist, Buzzfeed, Paste Magazine, Southern Living, HelloGiggles, and Shelf Awareness Huffington Post’s Best Feminist Books of the Year The New York Post’s Most Thrilling and Fascinating Books of the Year The New York Public Library’s Ten Best Books of the Year "A stunning debut novel." —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times This celebrated, unforgettable first novel (“A bright, big-hearted demonstration of female spirit.” –The Guardian), shortlisted for the prestigious Women's Prize for Fiction and set in Nigeria, gives voice to both husband and wife as they tell the story of their marriage--and the forces that threaten to tear it apart. Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage--after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures--Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time--until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin's second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant. Which, finally, she does--but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Me asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.
Reflecting Rogue is the much anticipated and brilliant collection of experimental autobiographical essays on power, pleasure and South African culture by Professor Pumla Dineo Gqola. In her most personal book to date, written from classic Gqola anti-racist, feminist perspectives, Reflecting Rogue delivers 20 essays of deliciously incisive brain food, all extremely accessible to a general critical readership, without sacrificing intellectual rigor. These include essays on 'Disappearing Women', where Gqola spends time exploring what it means to live in a country where women can simply disappear - from a secure Centurion estate in one case, to being a cop in another, and being taken by men who know them. 'On the beauty of feminist rage' magically weaves together the shift in gender discourse in South Africa's public spheres, using examples from #RUReferenceList, #RapeAtAzania and #RememberingKhwezi. While 'I've got all my sisters with me' explores the heady heights of feminist joy, 'A meditation on feminist friendship with gratitude' exposes a new, and more personal side to ever-incisive Gqola.
Author: Mohale Mashigo
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Release Date: 2017-11-19
Genre: South African fiction (English)
How long does it take for scars to heal? How long does it take for a scarred memory to fester and rise to the surface? For Marubini, the question is whether scars ever heal when you forget they are there to begin with. Marubini is a young woman who has an enviable life in Cape Town, working at a wine farm and spending idyllic days with her friends ... until her past starts spilling into her present. Something dark has been lurking in the shadows of Marubini's life from as far back as she can remember. It's only a matter of time before it reaches out and grabs at her. The Yearning is a memorable exploration of the ripple effects of the past, of personal strength and courage, and of the shadowy intersections of traditional and modern worlds.
If I were given five minutes with my younger self—that little girl who cried every time we had to leave for another country—I would hold her tight and not say a word. I would just be still and have her feel my beating heart, a thud to echo her own—a silent message that, no matter the outcome, she would survive and be stronger and happier than she might think as she stood at the threshold of each new home. Sisonke Msimang was born in exile, the daughter of South African freedom fighters. Always Another Country is the story of a young girl’s path to womanhood—a journey that took her from Africa to America and back again, then on to a new home in Australia. Frank, fierce and insightful, she reflects candidly on the abuse she suffered as a child, the naive, heady euphoria of returning at last to her parents’ homeland—and her disillusionment with present-day South Africa and its new elites. Sisonke Msimang is a bold new voice on feminism, race and politics—in her beloved South Africa, in Australia, and around the world. Sisonke Msimang was born in exile to South African parents—a freedom fighter and an accountant—and raised in Zambia, Kenya and Canada before studying in the US as an undergraduate. Her family returned to South Africa after apartheid was abolished in the early 1990s. Sisonke has held fellowships at Yale University, the Aspen Institute and the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and is a regular contributor to the Guardian, Daily Maverick and New York Times. She now lives in Perth, Australia, where she is head of oral storytelling at the Centre for Stories. ‘Few of us have felt the grinding force of history as consciously or as constantly as Sisonke Msimang. Her story is a timely insight into a life in which the gap between the great world and the private realm is vanishingly narrow and it bears hard lessons about how fragile our hopes and dreams can be.' Tim Winton ‘Brutally and uncompromisingly honest, Sisonke’s beautifully crafted storytelling enriches the already extraordinary pool of young African women writers of our time.’ Graça Machel, Minister for Education and Culture of Mozambique ‘A brave and intimate journey. Msimang delivers a deep call for fierce courage in the face of hypocrisy and compassion when faced with our shared humanity.’ Yewande Omotoso, author of The Woman Next Door ‘Sisonke Msimang kindles a new fire in our store of memoir, a fire that will warm and singe and sear for a long, long while.’ Njabulo S. Ndebele, author The Cry of Winnie Mandela 'An excellent blend of both the personal and political...a bold memoir...a tale that will sustain itself for generations.’ Books & Publishing ‘Msimang pours herself into these pages with a voice that is molten steel; her radiant warmth and humour sit alongside her fearlessness in naming and refusing injustice. Msimang is a masterful memoirist, a gifted writer, and she comes bearing a message that is as urgent and timely as it is eternal.’ Sarah Krasnostein ‘It is rare to hear from such a voice as Sisonke’s—powerful, accomplished, unabashed and brave. This is a gripping and important memoir that is also self-aware and funny, revealing the depths of a country we’ve mostly only seen through a colonial perspective.’ Alice Pung
A new novel from the winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature At thirty-nine, Deola Bello, a Nigerian expatriate in London, is dissatisfied with being single and working overseas. Deola works as a financial reviewer for an international charity, and when her job takes her back to Nigeria in time for her father’s five-year memorial service, she finds herself turning her scrutiny inward. In Nigeria, Deola encounters changes in her family and in the urban landscape of her home, and new acquaintances who offer unexpected possibilities. Deola’s journey is as much about evading others’ expectations to get to the heart of her frustration as it is about exposing the differences between foreign images of Africa and the realities of contemporary Nigerian life. Deola’s urgent, incisive voice captivates and guides us through the intricate layers and vivid scenes of a life lived across continents. With Sefi Atta’s characteristic boldness and vision, A Bit of Difference limns the complexities of our contemporary world. This is a novel not to be missed.
The memory of war will stay with a man longer than anything else. Dawn, mist clearing over the rice fields, a burning Vietnamese village, and a young war photographer gets the shot that might make his career. The image, of a staring soldier in the midst of mayhem, will become one of the great photographs of the war. But what he has seen in that village is more than he can bear, and he flees. Jonathan drifts on to Japan, to lose himself in the vastness of Tokyo, where there are different kinds of pictures to be taken: peacetime pictures of crowds and subways and cherry blossom. And pictures of a girl with whom he is no longer lost: innumerable pictures of Kumiko, on the streets and in the rain and in the heat of the summer. Yet even here in this alien city, his history will catch up with him: that photograph and his responsibility in taking it; his responsibility as a witness to war, and as a witness to other events buried far deeper in his past. The Gun Room is a powerful exploration of image and memory, and of the moral complexity and emotional consequences of the experience of war.
With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality---the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are. Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’ weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman. It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She’s having a baby boy—an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old’s life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel’s marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she’s been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood. Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she’s pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.
Author: Helen Simonson
Publisher: A&C Black
Release Date: 2010-03-01
Major Ernest Pettigrew is perfectly content to lead a quiet life in the sleepy village of Edgecombe St Mary, away from the meddling of the locals and his overbearing son. But when his brother dies, the Major finds himself seeking companionship with the village shopkeeper, Mrs Ali. Drawn together by a love of books and the loss of their partners, they are soon forced to contend with irate relatives and gossiping villagers. The perfect gentleman, but the most unlikely hero, the Major must ask himself what matters most: family obligation, tradition or love? Funny, comforting and heart-warming, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand proves that sometimes, against all odds, life does give you a second chance.
Helen Moran is thirty-two years old, single, childless, college-educated, and partially employed as a guardian of troubled young people in New York. She’s accepting a delivery from IKEA in her shared studio apartment when her uncle calls to break the news: Helen’s adoptive brother is dead. According to the internet, there are six possible reasons why her brother might have killed himself. But Helen knows better: she knows that six reasons is only shorthand for the abyss. Helen also knows that she alone is qualified to launch a serious investigation into his death, so she purchases a one-way ticket to Milwaukee. There, as she searches her childhood home and attempts to uncover why someone would choose to die, she will face her estranged family, her brother’s few friends, and the overzealous grief counselor, Chad Lambo; she may also discover what it truly means to be alive. A bleakly comic tour de force that’s by turns poignant, uproariously funny, and viscerally unsettling, this debut novel has shades of Bernhard, Beckett and Bowles—and it announces the singular voice of Patty Yumi Cottrell.