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Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

You are a vintage soul. You like old things. Stories about lost, ruined worlds is  your favorite kind of tragedy. While you’re not entirely nostalgic, the past does hold, for you, a fair amount of aura. You are not much of a talker, not because you are shy or introverted but because you believe that words should be used economically. You have a soft spot for storytellers. Poets, on the other hand, is a different matter. Soyinka’s work is not a turn-on for you.

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Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi

You are a diva with a delicate sensibility. Serene afternoons reading epic family sagas is how you spend your spring vacation in that English countryside cottage. You have money and are used to the finer things. Being “international” is a prerequisite for friendship. Most of your friends have ties to, at least, three different parts of the world. In your circle of friends, “provincial” is the worse kind of insult. You live and speak and love with a whole lot of feeling. You are generally optimistic that the world will be a better place, as long as there’s yoga, spas, and haute couture.

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Zoo City by Lauren Beukes

You are a creature of the city—the sprawling, monstrous kind. Anywhere between Lagos and Bangkok is home enough for you. You think girl-sci-fi heroes are the sexiest things ever. So you have this recurring dream where Catniss Everdeen and Zinzi December make out  on a speeding train headed to nowhere. Of the seven deadly sins, you’re easily given to pride, in the form of literary snobbery. You make it clear, to the annoyance of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, that you’re the authority on all that is new, edgy, and brilliant in the African literary scene.

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Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie

You believe in dating as many people as you need to before settling on Mr. or Mrs. Right, even if it involves returning to an old flame. You ooze sophistication and urbanity; still, most people would agree that you are not entirely as cool or as amazing as you imagine yourself to be.  To the annoyance of everyone you meet, you say super-smart things about everything. The eagerness with which you speak your mind is both a virtue and a vice. No one would say this to your face, but you are far too high-strung—always on about something or another. You have a talent for turning the most innocent and trivial thing—like hair—into a matter of world historical and political importance. You find Taiye Selasi’s novel over-written and Teju Cole’s stuff pompous but classy and, therefore, worth reading.  When Lauren Beukes comes up at dinner parties, you pretend not to have heard of her.

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The Palmwine Drinkard by Amos Tutuola

You are generally hard to read, partly, because of the dark subterranean energies that drive your impulses. Try as you may, you can’t experience the world in its everyday simplicity. Intense, weird, creepy, adventuresome are your comfort zones. One minute you’re freaking out about the most trivial thing. The next minute, you’re laughing off the most prodigious matters. Perhaps this accounts for why people think there’s bit of the schizophrenic in you. With a simultaneously grotesque and poetic sense of humor, people never know what to expect from you. To quote Saint Paul, you see the world “through a glass, darkly.”

 

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Post Images:

Things Fall Apart: Roswitha Siedelberg via Flick

Ghana Must Go: Marie Southard Ospina

Zoo City: abrinsky via Flickr

Americanah: Penn State via Flickr

The Palmwine Drinkard: Brittle Paper Instagram

 

This post was inspired by a Bookhub Bulletin about summer beach novels.

 

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

5 Responses to “What Does Your Favorite African Novel Say About You?” Subscribe

  1. Sela September 9, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

    Love this! Totally agree, Teju Cole’s writing ‘is’ pompous yet still classy and well worth the read. Wonder what you’d say about a lover of NoViolet Bulawayo’s work or Yvonne Owuor…

  2. Umar September 10, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

    Lovely, beutiful.

  3. Monique Kwachou September 10, 2014 at 7:38 pm #

    LOL! I am soo guilty! Things fall Apart and Ameicannah

  4. Catherine Onyemelukwe September 13, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    That was a fun exposition of me through what I like most to read. It didn’t quite capture my personality, but I could see traits I recognized and loved your analysis!

  5. mariam sule March 6, 2015 at 10:01 am #

    Americanah! But it didn’t describe me totally.

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