RaveLibrary JournalThis inaugural title in Roxane Gay’s new imprint with Grove Atlantic is a compelling, mature work of narrative grace.
PositiveLibrary Journal... luminous collection of short stories... deftly juxtaposing the quotidian with the universal ... Moeng... writes with lush, heartfelt intensity that illuminates contemporary Botswana for readers who value complex female characters navigating a rapidly changing world.
RaveLibrary JournalDisturbing ... The burgeoning love between Layla and Matthew creates an atmosphere of joy that the author tempers with the discovery of a burned corpse near the compound, a harbinger of looming disaster ... Hopeful and despairing in equal measure, Abbas takes readers on an emotional roller coaster, employing her protagonists as metaphor for Sudan’s possibilities if it was not mired in poverty, hunger, and tribal rivalries. A propulsive read.
Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi
PositiveLibrary JournalFrom the first chapter, set in 1900s Nigeria, to a jaw-dropping finale that takes place in a dystopian 2050, this debut from Ogunyemi imagines an unforgettable cast of characters ... These beautifully rendered stories form an impressive whole that will please multiple literary tastes, combining Nigerian history with a touch of mysticism, and contemporary familial angst with a dire futuristic vision.
PositiveLibrary Journal... a century of East Africa’s history comes viscerally to life through deeply flawed, wryly funny, sometimes admirable characters ... Focusing on the daily lives of these people, Gurnah touches on important themes, including the push/pull of various cultures, the value of education for women, and the ramifications of protracted wars, though he fails to delve deeply into any ... Will appeal to aficionados of historical fiction but could leave others yearning for a deeper understanding of the characters’ motivations for their sometimes inexplicable actions. Still, the Nobel Prize bestowed renewed international acclaim on Gurnah’s body of work, making this novel a must-have.
RaveLibrary JournalVibrant characters, multiple storylines, and a visceral sense of time and place coalesce in this engrossing novel ... In lush language, Wiggins evokes a keen sense of history and its life altering effects, a righteous frustration with government deception, and faith in the power of love to quench one’s deepest thirsts.
PositiveLibrary JournalDescriptions of the over-the-top wedding festivities would be a pure delight but for the underlying question: Will these women ultimately love and support their daughters as they once did each other? ... The intricacies of female friendships and the complex nature of mother/daughter relationships are at the heart of this absorbing novel from BuzzFeed culture editor Obaro, a sharp new voice on the literary scene.
RaveLibrary JournalIn this enchanting debut novel, Kenyan-born writer Oduor spins the magical tale of lonely young Ayosa ... Oduor explores generational abuse and violence with a gentle touch, managing to elicit compassion rather than judgment for these withholding mothers and daughters. From the novel’s dazzling first sentence to its gratifying conclusion, readers will be mesmerized by Oduor’s linguistic skills. Highly recommended.
Shukri Mabkhout, Tr. Miled Faiza and Karen McNeil
PositiveLIbrary Journal... consequential ... this first novel by Tunisian university professor Mabkhout deftly illustrates how government repression and culture clashes have affected an entire generation of idealistic young people. In this accomplished translation, it can now be appreciated by a wider audience.
Khadija Abdalla Bajaber
PositiveLibrary JournalWith its spunky protagonist, foreboding atmosphere, and supernatural elements, this novel would appeal to readers of Karen Russell’s genre-defying Swamplandia and would also be a perfect selection for young adults eager to broaden their literary horizons.
PositiveLibrary JournalThemes that Onuzo visited in 2018’s Welcome to Lagos, including unscrupulous politicians, irresponsible journalism, and the yawning gap between rich and poor, feel deeply personal as Anna’s journey unfolds. Though the quest for identity has become a conventional staple of contemporary fiction, it feels fresh and new in Onuzo’s capable hands.
PositiveLibrary Journal... wildly imaginative ... Faye perfectly juxtaposes corrosive ambition, jealousy, and madness against the ineffable strength of love over distance, time, and space ... Faye first won fans with an eclectic array of historical novels revisiting Jane Eyre and Sherlock Holmes. Her exciting new work should be especially appealing to readers who were intrigued by the reimaginings of Anne Tyler, Margaret Atwood, or Jeanette Winterson for the Hogarth Press Shakespeare project.
RaveLibrary Journal... slim but never slight ... Each vignette, only three or four pages long, feels like a beautifully wrapped gift ... Lahiri brilliantly elevates the quotidian to the sublime in this gorgeous stream-of-consciousness window into the interior life of an accomplished woman.
PositiveLibrary JournalThrough the eyes of these and many more compelling characters, Sacks creates a snapshot of lives shattered by decades of conflict ... This ambitious, forceful debut novel, likely informed by Sacks’s years studying in Tel Aviv, personalizes with startling clarity the seemingly unsolvable conundrum that is the Middle East. This is a thinking reader’s book.
RaveLibrary JournalSometimes with tongue in cheek but more frequently with deadly seriousness, Baxter plumbs the depths of Alma and Harry\'s 40-year marriage while tackling global issues ... Fans may be surprised at the dark tenor of his latest novel, but Baxter...masterfully captures the zeitgeist of our country as we navigate multiple crises, some he could never have predicted. This is truly a compelling book for our times.
RaveLibrary Journal... extraordinary ... Róisín is masterly in her visceral representation of Taylia’s despair and rage, her depression and self-loathing, and her inability to be open to even small acts of kindness. Yet as weeks of her wandering in the city unfold, readers sense Taylia’s innate strength, a survival instinct at her core that enables her to find work in a bakery and a friend in Kat, its owner ... In lustrous, lyrical language, multifaceted artist Róisín has written an ode to the joy and healing power of self-love. This powerful novel is highly recommended.
RaveLibrary JournalThis achingly intimate novel-cum-memoir from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Akhtar...searingly explores the existential questions consuming immigrants in the United States ... But the beating heart of this novel is his complex relationship with his father and with his homeland ... The personal is political in this beautiful, intense elegy for an America that often goes awry while still offering hope.
RaveLibrary JournalThough it’s a departure from her gorgeous historical debut...Gyasi’s contemporary novel of a woman’s struggle for connection in a place where science and faith are at odds is a piercingly beautiful tale of love and forgiveness.
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
RaveLibrary JournalMakumbi is a mesmerizing storyteller, slowly pulling readers in with a captivating cast of multifaceted characters and a soupçon of magical realism guaranteed to appeal to fans of Isabel Allende, Julia Alvarez, or Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing.
RaveLibrary Journal... haunting ... Through vivid flashbacks, friends and family paint a picture of a sensitive child prone to bouts of depression and angry outbursts ... Vivek’s complicated relationship with his male cousin Osita rests at the heart of this searing examination of gender dissonance, sexual attraction, familial love, and loyalty ... this achingly beautiful probe into the challenges of living fully as a nonbinary human being, is an illuminating read.
RaveLibrary JournalBeah portrays his characters with exquisite tenderness, imbuing them with a grace that belies their wretched situation, while he hints at their pasts through quickly tamped-down memories or nightmares gently dispelled by Khoudie’s soothing hands ... Beah continues to speak eloquently to the impact of colonialism on generations of African children for whom freedom is merely an illusion.
RaveLibrary JournalErdrich’s fiction has always been informed by her Anishinaabe roots, but this novel is truly personal ... In Erdrich’s hands, daily life on the reservation comes alive, the crushing poverty and lack of opportunity tempered by family cohesion and the wisdom of the elders. She acknowledges the scourge of alcoholism and exposes traffickers who prey on naive girls drawn to the cities ... Erdrich once again calls upon her considerable storytelling skills to elucidate the struggles of generations of Native people to retain their cultural identity and their connection to the land.
PositiveLibrary JournalOkri employs simple sentences and brief chapters to invoke an alarming and complex parable of a world on the edge, where up is down and down is up. But readers shouldn’t fool themselves into believing that this is another dystopian tale of the future; it feels all too current. Like the prisoners in Plato’s cave, we have complacently accepted its bland existence, unable to remember that there was once, and could be again, another reality where words deliver freedom rather than condemnation ... Like George Orwell and Margaret Atwood before him, the Booker Prize–winning Okri writes a passionate cri de coeur, a clarion call to activists everywhere to resist apathy and recognize that we are all on this beautiful globe together and that it is ours to lose.
RaveLibrary Journal... incandescent ... In sensuous prose, Aciman creates honest relationships unfettered by age, gender, or time, perfectly capturing that initial hesitancy one experiences when embarking upon an intimate liaison. The joy and mystery of music, so wondrously described that you can hear it, features prominently ... Aciman gifts readers with a beautiful 21st-century romance that reflects on the remembrance of things past and the courage to embrace the future. Highly recommended.
PositiveLibrary JournalIn his difficult and disturbing new novel, Nganang exposes the evils of colonialism and the ramifications of violence for his native country, which suffered under the thumbs of three European powers ... serious subject matter tempered with bursts of droll humor ... Nganang is a political force whose experiences in Cameroon inform every page of this novel. Some will find it long on screed and short on plot. But for those who appreciate how fiction illuminates history, this book will be an eye-opener.
Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
RaveLibrary JournalLyrical, luminous language evokes the beauty of Pate Island, the poetic muezzin\'s call, even the scent of rosewater that wafts from each page ... Caine Prize winner Owuor follows up her powerful debut, Dust, with a gentler but no less stunning novel of language, lineage, love, and family, those we\'re born into and those that we create.
RaveLibrary JournalEvery now and then, a writer grabs you in the first paragraph and doesn\'t let go. Such is the case with Taneja, whose stunning debut brims with familial jealousy, sexual tension, political turmoil, and shocking violence ... Taneja writes with a passion and verve that reflects her human rights reporter and filmmaker background. Highly recommended for socially conscious readers