Ben Okri writes beautifully and in The Famished Road, the book that won the 1991 Booker Award, he produces yet another fabulous read. After I read the book, his first in the Famished Road trilogy, I kept on muttering to myself `Okri is good’ hours after I had put the book down.
Set mainly in the UK, this romantic story makes for a refreshing read – certainly a departure from other African stories that mostly center on the continent’s instabilities. Lola is a young, outspoken, confident and energetic woman. With her four friends – Funmi, Temmy, Titi, and Maureen – they make up a close circle of friends albeit with very different personalities. They are all educated young women, with good jobs but all struggling with their love relationships.
In The Helpers (published in 2010 by CreateSpace), Suzanna Nelson, author of Nightmare along the River Nile, delivers a thriller that readers will enjoy. This is a book packed with intrigue, suspense, and romance.
The story begins in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There is war going on, and Captain Pierre-Jean Phillippe and his boss Lance work for the French Military Intelligence. In the fight to bring about reconciliation in the deep-ethnic-hatred population, they receive more perturbing information that a missile has been imported into the country.
A senior lecturer in sociology at Wits University, the author Sarah Mosoetsa works from the premise that the family is the microcosm of society. In her book (published in 2011 by Witwatersrand University Press), Mosoetsa looks at African households in the KwaZulu/Natal townships of Mpumalanga [Hammersdale] and Enhlalakahle [Greytown]. What she finds is shockingly representative of the entire country – indeed the whole continent and the Third World.
Once again, Africa Book Club takes a look at some of the year’s best books about Africa, or written by African authors. This year’s list reflects the best of African storytelling in many ways and across genres. The best books, in our opinion, are those that entertain, make us think, bring new perspectives to bear, provoke debate, and even lead us to question our own beliefs and assumptions. Our top selections managed to do just that.
Praised in South Africa as one of the most stunning début novels in decades, Sifiso Mzobe’s “Young Blood” is a page-turner that subtly mixes a crime fiction plot, hard-headed characters and latent social comment. Published by Kwela Books in 2010, the book won the prestigious Sunday Times Literary Award for best fiction – a rare honour for a first-time novelist in his early thirties. Booze, sex, drugs, stolen cars and easy money: “Young Blood” is a gangster story set in Umlazi, Durban’s biggest township.