In the United States of Africa

“In the United States of Africa” by Abdourahman A. Waberi (Djibouti) Review Readers all agreed that the idea of turning the world upside down was a clever and original one. They liked the beginning of the book, but became disenchanted as they read on finding the story more and more difficult to follow. Although they…

Second-Class Citizen

“Second-Class Citizen” by Buchi Emecheta (Nigeria) Review Most readers enjoyed the book, finding the story very touching and inspiring. They liked the protagonist Adah whom they found both naïve and strong. The descriptions of her life, first in Nigeria growing up, then in London as a young mother and wife, were realistic and effective. The…

Things Fall Apart

“Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe (Nigeria) Review Members of the Book Club enjoyed the book immensely. They felt great sympathy for the main character, Okonkwo, who grapples with his determination not to be like his weak father. Some readers felt they could relate to this desire to be the opposite of a despised parent…

Sleepwalking Land

“Sleepwalking Land” by Mia Couto (Mozambique) Extract and Comment It isn’t the story which fascinates him, but the spirit within it. And listening to Tuahir’s dreams, with the noises of war in the background, he begins to think: they should invent a gentle, more affable gunpowder, capable of exploding men without killing them. An inverse…

Goodbye Lucille

“Goodbye Lucille” by Segun Afolabi (Nigeria) Review Readers were pretty much equally divided about this book, with half the group enjoying it, while the other half found it disappointing. Everyone agreed that it was an easy read, written in a clear language, and that the story was well crafted. They also liked the fact that…

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…

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…

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…