The Old Drift

“The Old Drift” by Namwali Serpell (Zambia) Review This book was initially chosen for our Summer Reading Group 2019, but because of its length, most readers didn’t manage to finish it on time. As a result, we organised a one-off book club meeting to discuss it. To start with, readers were concerned by the scope of this book, fearing that they would be overwhelmed by … Continue reading The Old Drift

Behold the Dreamers

“Behold the Dreamers” by Imbolo Mbue (Cameroon) Review An easy read was the overarching first impression of this book. Readers agreed that the story flowed well and they had no difficulty finishing it. They warmed quickly to most of the protagonists and liked the fact that they were all flawed on some level. Readers felt that the way the author portrayed the immigrant experience rang … Continue reading Behold the Dreamers

Lyrics Alley

“Lyrics Alley” by Leila Aboulela (Sudan) Review Readers enjoyed this well-told story, finding it engaging and easy to read. They felt it was more of a love story than a political novel as the historical setting remains mostly in the background. Readers liked the style of writing and said it played a large part in their enjoyment of the book. They warmed to all the … Continue reading Lyrics Alley

The Woman Next Door

“The Woman Next Door” by Yewande Omotoso (South Africa) Review “The Woman Next Door” by Yewande Omotoso (South Africa) is set in modern-day Cape Town and is about the strained relationship between two elderly neighbours, one black and one white. Readers found this an easy story to get into, and to some extent it was a light relief compared to the other three. They liked … Continue reading The Woman Next Door

The Yacoubian Building

“The Yacoubian Building” by Alaa Al Aswany (Egypt) Review Readers loved this book! They warmed to the different characters who they described as vivid and well developed. They liked how each one evolved throughout the story as either their situation improved or deteriorated. They also liked the contrasts between the secular and religious lifestyles of the characters. Readers loved the setting of the building with … Continue reading The Yacoubian Building

By Night the Mountain Burns

“By Night the Mountain Burns” by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel (Equatorial Guinea) Review There were mixed feelings about this book as some readers struggled with the stream-of-consciousness style of writing. Those who enjoyed it loved the flow of the story describing it as lyrical and dreamlike. They said it felt like listening to a friend telling them about their childhood and they could relate to it. … Continue reading By Night the Mountain Burns

Tram 83

“Tram 83” by Fiston Mwanza Mujila (Democratic Republic of Congo) Review From a classic plot-driven novel to an unusual collective ‘novel-essay,’ the four shortlisted books for this year’s Summer Reading Group varied greatly in structure, style of writing, and point of view. Our summer readers also noticed a recurrent theme in all four of dreams and their many meanings. “Tram 83” was chosen as the … Continue reading Tram 83