Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."


Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s second novel, Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun, has been featured in The New Yorker‘s “Briefly Noted” section, which means that we should expect a review of the novel from them.

Published in 2016 by Cassava Republic Press, the poetically-titled novel became the first by an African to be shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize, a development we highlighted considering how fiction from Africa is read primarily on the basis of its subject and rarely on style.


Noted in The New Yorker: Nigerian novelist Sarah Ladipo Manyika.

In The New Yorker‘s recent feature, Like a Mule appears alongside Joselin Linder’s memoir The Family Gene, Mary Gaitskill’s essay collection Somebody with a Little Hammer, and Hannah Tinti’s novel The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley. Here is what the magazine said about Like a Mule.

The protagonist of this novel is an elderly Nigerian woman living in San Francisco and determined to match its youthful energy. “It’s harder to make young friends here than it is in places like Lagos or Delhi,” she laments. But her decision to mark her seventy-fifth birthday by getting a tattoo and buying the best pastries she can find leads to encounters with other rootless inhabitants—fellow-migrants struggling to adapt to a new home and native San Franciscans made newly homeless. A thread of self-deprecating humor transforms what could have been a morbid meditation on aging into a tale of common humanity. When an Italian-American cop resists fining her, she feels justified in believing that “there is much that binds Italians with Nigerians.”

Praised by Aminatta Forna, NoViolet Bulawayo, Benardine Evaristo, Brian Chikwava and E.C. Osondu, among others, here is a description of the novel by Cassava Republic.

Dr. Morayo Da Silva, a cosmopolitan Nigerian woman, lives in San Francisco. On the cusp of seventy-five, she has a zest for life and makes the most of it through road trips in her vintage Porsche, chatting to strangers, and reminiscing about characters from her favourite novels. Until she has an accident, crushing her independence. Without the support of family, she relies on friends and chance encounters to help keep her sanity. As Morayo recounts her story, moving seamlessly between past and present, we meet Dawud, a charming Palestinian shopkeeper, Sage, a feisty, homeless Grateful Dead devotee, and Antonio, the poet whom Morayo desired more than her ambassador husband.

A subtle story about ageing, friendship and loss, this is also a nuanced study of the erotic yearnings of an older woman.

In Nigeria, Manyika’s first novel, In Dependence, is currently being read for the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examination.

Congratulations to Sarah!

See the other noted books in The New Yorker.

Tags: , , ,

Otosirieze Nnaemekaram is a writer, an academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review ("Mulumba," 2016), Transition ("A Tenderer Blessing," 2015), and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award for which he was shortlisted ("You Sing of a Longing," 2017). His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop facilitated by Giles Foden. He is the curator of the ART NAIJA SERIES, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. The first, ENTER NAIJA: THE BOOK OF PLACES (October, 2016), focuses on cities in Nigeria. The second, WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. He studied History and Literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies and Pop Culture, and teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. He has completed a collection of short stories and is working on a 600-page novel. When bored, he just Googles Rihanna.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

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.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."


The Caine Prize Is Alright. Right?


Something is happening at the Caine Prize. Here at Brittle Paper, our role has been to support African literary institutions […]

Chike Frankie Edozien’s Lives of Great Men Is a Finalist for the 2018 Publishing Triangle Awards

lives of great men copies

Chike Frankie Edozien’s Lives of Great Men is a finalist for the Publishing Triangle Awards, in the Randy Shilts Award […]

Freedom | Sobantu Mzwakali | Fiction


THERE IS NO need to see the sun in these intense blue skies.  It is foreboding, ominous and could be […]

From “Logarhythms” to “The Hate Artist”: Texts, Sub-texts, and the Art of Naming in Niran Okewole’s Poetry | Tosin Gbogi

the hate artist

Logarhythms is Niran Okewole’s first poetry collection, and it is with this that he established himself as a poet to […]

Lesley Nneka Arimah and Zinzi Clemmons Are Finalists for the $35,000 Aspen Words Literary Prize

zinzi clemmons - black cultural events

Lesley Nneka Arimah’s short story collection, What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, and Zinzi Clemmons’ novel, […]

For Women’s History Month, Enkare Review Is Listing African Literary Women Who Have Inspired Them


For March 2018’s Women’s History Month, Enkare Review magazine is listing the 30 African literary women who have inspired them. […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.