West Bloomfield Township Public Library
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Voices of Africa

These authors of African descent offer a glimpse into the rich diversity on the continent and within the larger African diaspora.

This mournable body : a novel by Tsitsi Dangarembga

She would be king : a novel by Wayétu Moore

The shadow king : a novel by Maaza Mengiste

Set during Mussolini’s 1935 invasion of Ethiopia, The Shadow King takes us back to the first real conflict of World War II, casting light on the women soldiers who were left out of the historical record. At its heart is orphaned maid Hirut, who finds herself tumbling into a new world of thefts and violations, of betrayals and overwhelming rage. What follows is a heartrending and unputdownable exploration of what it means to be a woman at war.

An orchestra of minorities : a novel by Chigozie Obioma

The fishermen : a novel by Chigozie Obioma

The old drift : a novel by Namwali Serpell

On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the majestic Victoria Falls, there was once a colonial settlement called The Old Drift. Here begins the epic story of a small African nation, told by a mysterious swarm-like chorus that calls itself man's greatest nemesis. The tale? A playful panorama of history, fairytale, romance and science fiction. The moral? To err is human

How beautiful we were : a novel by Imbolo Mbue

We should have known the end was near.' So begins Imbolo Mbue's exquisite and devastating novel How Beautiful We Were. Set in the fictional African village of Kosawa, it tells the story of a people living in fear amidst environmental degradation wrought by a large and powerful American oil company. Pipeline spills have rendered farmlands infertile. Children are dying from drinking toxic water. Promises of clean up and financial reparations to the villagers are made--and ignored. The country's government, led by a corrupt, brazen dictator, exists to serve its own interest. Left with few choices, the people of Kosawa decide to fight the American corporation. Doing so will come at a steep price. Told through multiple perspectives and centered around a fierce young girl named Thula who grows up to become a revolutionary, How Beautiful We Were is a masterful exploration of what happens when the reckless drive for profit, coupled with the ghosts of colonialism, comes up against one village's quest for justice--and a young woman's willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of her people's freedom

Behold the dreamers : a novel by Imbolo Mbue

Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, and his family. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Jende is desperate to keep his job and is soon forced to make an impossible choice

Transcendent kingdom : a novel by Yaa Gyasi

"A novel about faith, science, religion, and family that tells the deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief, narrated by a fifth year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford school of medicine studying the neural circuits of reward seeking behavior in mice"--

Homegoing : a novel by Yaa Gyasi

"Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into two different tribal villages in 18th century Ghana. Effia will be married off to an English colonial, and will live in comfort in the sprawling, palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle, raising half-caste children who will be sent abroad to be educated in England before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the Empire. Her sister, Esi, will be imprisoned beneath Effia in the Castle's women's dungeon, and then shipped off on a boat bound for America, where she will be sold into slavery. Stretching from the tribal wars of Ghana to slavery and Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the north to the Great Migration to the streets of 20th century Harlem, Yaa Gyasi's has written a modern masterpiece, a novel that moves through histories and geographies and--with outstanding economy and force--captures the troubled spirit of our own nation"--

A particular kind of black man by Tope Folarin

"A stunning debut novel, from Rhodes Scholar and winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing, Tope Folarin about a Nigerian family living in Utah and their uncomfortable assimilation to American life. Living in small-town Utah has always been an uneasyfit for Tunde Akinola's family, especially for his Nigeria-born parents. Though Tunde speaks English with a Midwestern accent, he can't escape the children who rub his skin and ask why the black won't come off. As he struggles to fit in and find his place in the world, he finds little solace from his parents who are grappling with their own issues. Tunde's father, ever the optimist, works tirelessly chasing his American dream while his wife, lonely in Utah without family and friends, sinks deeper into schizophrenia. Then one otherwise-ordinary morning, Tunde's mother wakes him with a hug, bundles him and his baby brother into the car, and takes them away from the only home they've ever known. But running away doesn't bring her, or her children, any relief from the demons that plague her; once Tunde's father tracks them down, she flees to Nigeria, and Tunde never feels at home again. He spends the rest of his childhood and young adulthood searching for connection--to the wary stepmother and stepbrothershe gains when his father remarries; to the Utah residents who mock his father's accent; to evangelical religion; to his Texas middle school's crowd of African-Americans; to the fraternity brothers of his historically black college. In so doing, he discovers something that sends him on a journey away from everything he has known. Sweeping, stirring, and perspective-shifting, A Particular Kind of Black Man is a beautiful and poignant exploration of the meaning of memory, manhood, home, and identity as seen through the eyes of a first-generation Nigerian-American"--

Things fall apart by Chinua Achebe

The contemporary African writer's classic novel depicting the destruction of traditional tribal life by the white man

Half of a yellow sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Re-creates the 1960s struggle of Biafra to establish an independent republic in Nigeria, following the intertwined lives of the characters through a military coup, the Biafran secession, and the resulting civil war

The thing around your neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A collection of twelve stories includes the tale of a medical student in hiding with a poor Muslim woman, and a woman who discovers a devastating secret about her brother's death

Americanah : a novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

"A young woman from Nigeria leaves behind her home and her first love to start a new life in America, only to find her dreams are not all she expected"--

North of dawn : a novel by Nuruddin Farah

Evening primrose by Kopano Matlwa

"Compelling and heart-wrenching, Evening Primrose explores issues of race, poverty, and gender in post-apartheid South Africa through the eyes of a junior doctor... When Masechaba finally achieves her childhood dream of becoming a doctor, her ambition istested as she faces the stark reality of South Africa's public health care system. As she leaves her deeply religious mother and makes friends with the politically-minded Nyasha, Masechaba's eyes are opened to the rising xenophobic tension that carries echoes of apartheid. Battling her inner demons, she must decide if she should take a stand to help her best friend, even if it comes at a high personal cost. A powerfully insightful novel from "South Africa's Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie" (The Bookseller), Evening Primrose explores issues of race, gender, and the medical profession with tenderness and urgency"--

Happiness by Aminatta Forna

Elsewhere, home by Leila Aboulela

"Since her award-winning debut novel, Minaret, Leila Aboulela has been praised by J.M. Coetzee, Ali Smith, Aminatta Forna, and Anthony Marra among others for her rich and nuanced depictions of Islamic spiritual and political life. Her latest collection, Elsewhere, Home, draws us ineluctably into the lives of immigrants at home and abroad as they forge new identities and reshape old ones. A young woman's encounter with a former classmate elicits painful reminders of her former life in Khartoum. A wealthy young Sudanese woman studying in Aberdeen begins an unlikely friendship with one of her Scottish classmates. A woman experiences an evolving relationship to her favorite writer, whose portrait of their shared culture both reflects and conflicts with her own sense of identity. Shuttling between the dusty, sun-baked streets of Khartoum and the university halls and cramped apartments of Aberdeen and London, Elsewhere, Home explores, with subtlety and restraint, the profound feelings of yearning, loss, and alienation that come with leaving one's homeland in pursuit of a different life" --

The freedom artist by Ben Okri

In a world uncomfortably like our own, a young woman called Amalantis is arrested for asking a question. Her question is this: Who is the Prisoner? When Amalantis disappears, her lover Karnak goes looking for her. He searches desperately at first, then with a growing realization. To find Amalantis, he must first understand the meaning of her question. Karnak's search leads him into a terrifying world of lies, oppression and fear at the heart of which lies the Prison. Then Karnak discovers that he is not the only one looking for the truth

Prayer for the living : stories by Ben Okri

"Okri's new collection of short stories blur parallel realities and walk the line between darkness and magic. Is what you see all there is? Look again. Playful, frightening, even shocking--the stories in this collection blur the lines between illusion and reality. Stories here are set in London, in Byzantium, in the ghetto, in the Andes, in a printer's shop in Spain. The characters include a murderer, a writer, a detective, a man in a cave, a man in a mirror, two little boys, a prison door, and the author himself. There are twenty-three stories in all. Each one will make you wonder if what you see in the world is all there is ..."--Publisher
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