We Need New Names

“We Need New Names” by NoViolet Bulawayo (Zimbabwe)


Members of our Summer Reading Group liked the differences in writing styles and themes of this year’s four shortlisted books finding most of the stories highly enjoyable.

Nicola has chosen the novel “We Need New Names” as her Coup de Cœur Summer 2014. Set in Harare and Michigan (US) in the present day, readers found the story captivating and easy to read. They loved the voice of the narrator clearly hearing her evolution from a 10-year-old girl in Zimbabwe to a teenager in the US. They liked how the author used children to get across the harsh realities of life in a funny and direct way. Nicola particularly liked chapter 10 “How they left” and chapter 16 “How they lived”, two transition chapters, which she felt read like epic poems.


‘To play the country-game, we have to choose a country. Everybody wants to be the USA and Britain and Canada and Australia and Switzerland and them. Nobody wants to be rags of countries like Congo, like Somalia, like Iraq, like Sudan, like Haiti and not even this one we live in… Read more

Nicola’s Summer Reading list 2014

“The Sound of Things Falling” by Juan Gabriel Vasquez (Colombia)
“We Need New Names” by NoViolet Bulawayo (Zimbabwe)
“Questions of Travel” by Michelle de Kretser (Sri Lanka)
“Expo 58” by Jonathan Coe (U.K.) * 

* Best Summer Read
In italics, Nicola’s Coup de Cœur

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