I have bought the Books listed below with money from Literary Teas. Thanks for your support.
I’ve also ordered The Forgotted Waltz by Ann Enright and Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edyugan, from the Orange Prize short list.
Stories from Africa
Gappah, Petina: An Elegy for Easterly.
This is a new Zimbabwean writer who was short-listed for Guardian First Book Prize. It is a collection of short stories distinguished by a caustic wit…
“The unofficial wife in the small house had now become the Second First Lady at State House. She wore hats of flying saucer dimensions while cows sacrificed their lives so that she could wear pair upon pair of Ferragamo shoes.
‘If only I could’ she said to the nation’s orphans ‘I would really, really adopt you all.’
Parkin, Gaile; When Hoopoes go to Heaven.
A delightful follow-up to Baking Cakes in Kigali. The family are spending a year in Swaziland. Benedict, the middle child, is the narrator. He spends hours studying the natural world around him and reading about it. He also has an innocence so that we see things through his eyes but realise there is more to them than he understands.
Proctor, Elaine: Rhumba
Again narrated by a child but a total contrast to the Hoopoes. Elaine Proctor is a South African but the book is set in Tottenham Court Road among Congolese refugees.
The book opens with the boy shooting doves with a ‘catty’- for his mother to eat when she comes.
“It had been five months since his mother had tricked him into leaving Bukavu with the promise that she would follow swiftly on.
Being away from her had felt like being burned in a fire…
Her name was Bijou. Flambeau thought it the perfect name for his mother because she was, indeed, a jewel.
He didn’t want to imagine the journey Bijou was now finally making from the forests of south-east Congo because he knew the pitfalls in her path were plentiful.”
The story is sad, tragic, beautiful, musical, brutal and beautifully written.
It’s on the long list for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize and well worth reading.