The Best African Reads of August
August 05, 2016
The year is zipping by so fast and with all the crazy things happening in the world it’s hard to find a moment’s peace. We’ve hand-picked six books to help you block out all the noise in the glorious month of August. So whenever you can this month, steal a moment or two from your busy schedule and enjoy a relaxing read with any of these selections.
Petina Gappah’s The Book of Memory and Johwor Ile’s And After Many Days are dark, twisted dramas, full of suspense. There is Odafe Atogun’s Taduno’s Song. It’s a mind-boggling mystery.
Fouad Laroui’s The Curious Case of Dassoukine’s Trousers, a collection of funny laugh-out-loud stories, is on the lighter side, as well as Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun.
Finally, there is Teju Cole’s essay collection, Known and Strange Things, a great work of intellectual gusto.
1. Known and Strange Things by Teju Cole
Finally, Teju Cole’s fans can essentially lose themselves in a collection of over 50s essays. The much-awaited essay collection contains 50 essays about literature, photography, travel, history, politics, and so on. Cole has gifted hands when it comes to essay writing. He brings a fresh perspective to old questions about how we see the world and make sense of what we imagine as different.
2. Book of Memory by Petina Gappah
Memory is an albino. She is convicted for the murder of her adopted father, Lloyd Hendricks, and awaits her execution at Harere’s Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison. But Memory’s lawyer says that she could get a chance to appeal the death sentence if she writes down everything she remembers of what happened. The story takes a dark and disturbing turn as Memory recalls the events leading up to the murder. A certified Harare thriller!
3. The Curious Case of Dassoukine’s Trousers by Fouad Laroui
Laila Lalami says it best: “Laroui uses surrealism, laugh-out-loud humor, and profound compassion across a variety of literary styles to highlight the absurdity of the human condition, exploring the realities of life in a world where everything is foreign.”
4. Taduno’s Song by Odafe Atogun
A tale of lost identity. Taduno returns home to find that no one recognizes him—not even his girlfriend who believes he has been dead for a while. The story follows Taduno as he tries to unravel “the mystery of his lost life and to find his lost love.”
5. Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun by Sarah Ladipo Manyika
Morayo Da Silva is the most seductive and endearing old woman that ever lived in African fiction. In this short and beautifully written account set in San Francisco, she shares recollections of her past life of wealth, influence, and erotic encounters. Utterly compelling!
And After Many Days by Jowhor Ile