Book Digest: Alain Mabanckou, Olivia Pilar, Aricka Foreman, and Barbara Boswell.

We wrap up book news for our readers in our Book Digest feature. Today we bring you books by Alain Mabanckou, Olivia Pilar, Aricka Foreman, and Barbara Boswell.

We have come up with a new feature to make it easier to keep up with the books in the African and Black writing world. Here is the latest digest which includes book image, blurb, and where to get the book.

Alain Mabanckou, Rumeurs d’Amérique

Publisher: Plon
Publication Date: August 27, 2020
Genre: Essays
Language: French

Literary school year 2020

The portrait of another America.

Here, I melted into the crowd, I felt the pulse of those who have my colour, and those who are different from me, with whom I deal on a daily basis.

Certain places, in California and Michigan, tell me their history because I know them intimately.

Others resist me, and it sometimes takes me a long time to excavate to finally see their true face appear. But this journey only has meaning if it is personal, subjective, between the small story and the big one, between the immense and the tiny. And maybe even, without knowing it, I am undertaking here what I could qualify as an American autobiography, between the twists and turns of the unusual, the digression of the anecdote and the mirages of the imaginary.

Alain Mabanckou is a novelist, poet, essayist, who has published around thirty books, translated into around twenty languages. In 2006, his novel Mémoires de porc-épic was awarded the Renaudot Prize. He was awarded in 2012 by the French Academy (Henri-Gal Literature Grand Prize). He was appointed to the Collège de France in 2016, to the artistic creation chair, and teaches literature at UCLA. You can get the new book wherever good books are sold. And Amazon.

Oliver Pilar, Quando O Solar.

Publisher: Agency Page 7
Publication Date: August 19, 2020
Genre: Young Adult, LBGT
Language: Portuguese

Bianca, Dara and many other young people had their lives changed by the election of an extremely conservative leader. Cases of violence and persecution against anyone who escapes the standard determined by those in power become increasingly frequent. After the arrest of Dara’s brother, the two girlfriends get together to figure out how to continue living their love safely… until the sun comes back.

Olívia Pilar is a writer, graduated in Journalism from PUC-MG, post-graduated in Digital Marketing also from PUC-MG and master’s degree in Communication from UFMG. Quando O Solar is her newest book and can found on Amazon and other retailers.

Barbara Boswell, And Wrote My Story Anyway: Black South African women’s novels as feminism

Publisher: Wits University Press
Publication Date: August 19, 2020
Genre: Essays
Language: English

Studying these writers’ key engagements with nationalism, race and gender during apartheid and the transition to democracy, Barbara Boswell traces the ways in which black women’s fiction criticality interrogates narrow ideas of nationalism. She examines who is included and excluded, while producing alternative visions for a more just South African society.

This is an erudite analysis of ten well-known South African writers, spanning the apartheid and post-apartheid era: Miriam Tlali, Lauretta Ngcobo, Farida Karodia, Agnes Sam, Sindiwe Magona, Zoë Wicomb, Rayda Jacobs, Yvette Christiansë, Kagiso Lesego Molope, and Zukiswa Wanner. Boswell argues that black women’s fiction could and should be read as a subversive site of knowledge production in a setting, which, for centuries, denied black women’s voices and intellects.

Reading their fiction as theory, for the first time these writers’ works are placed in sustained conversation with each other, producing an arc of feminist criticism that speaks forcefully back to the abuse of a racist, white-dominated, patriarchal power.

Barbara Boswell is a feminist literary scholar and Associate Professor of English at the University of Cape Town. She is the author of Grace: A Novel (2017), which won the 2018 University of Johannesburg Debut Prize for Creative Writing. You can pre-order her new title on Amazon.

Aricka Foreman, Salt Body Shimmer

Publisher: YesYes Books
Publication Date: August 11, 2020
Genre: Poetry
Language: English

Salt Body Shimmer delivers girls and women with their hearts and strides unbroken, however provoked by deadening violences. Aricka Foreman’s deft lyric is both canopy and camouflage, beyond able to outwork predators and the hard silences they will against laughter, booty clap, and no. Aricka Foreman’s debut collection declares its right to everyplace, finds its heroes, and offers “a spell for everything.” I’ve not read or heard poems like these. “Out of a grave vision,” Foreman condenses the accumulated pain of subjugations and raises a dazzling mist to cool our eyes, our tired flesh.

—Ladan Osman, Exiles of Eden

The music of Salt Body Shimmer is deep bass and improvisation. Here, both skill and freestyle show how the two coexist intentionally, defiantly, the lyrics and rhythm winding through mental and physical consciousness with reversals that equal each other in power and artistry. What we think we know, what exists and what pretends, a people and a person, a city and a history all shapeshift and multiply as they converse, sometimes in the same line: “while an ancient thing waits, takes a drag / off my breath.” Aricka Foreman’s work haunts us with aliveness — nights, June, glass, flame, lush green, silver pans, wet ground. Even the unsaid personifies an embodied presence of memory. “The sea knows everything / And forgets no one,” she writes, and, “Sun drunk and bruised,” with a soul-deep Detroit voice carrying through on a blues moan, “blues inevitable,” Foreman’s crystalline début catapults the language of love and suffering — that is to say, poetry — toward its most effective and affecting state: transformation.

—Khadijah Queen, I’m So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On

As vital as water is to the human body, Salt Body Shimmer proves just as indispensable. Adorned in the ‘camouflage it takes to be a woman’ Aricka Foreman invites us to wade into an iridescent realm of Blue Magic. Each poem in this book washes up like a seashell—beautiful yet sharp. It is in your best interest, dear reader, to collect such marvels for safekeeping.

—Alison C. Rollins, Library of Small Catastrophes

Aricka Foreman is a poet, editor, and educator from Detroit, USA. Author of  Dream with a Glass Chamber and Salt Body Shimmer (YesYes Books 2019), she has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Callaloo, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. Her poems, essays, and features have appeared in The OffingBuzzfeedVinylRHINOThe Blueshift JournalDay Oneshuf PoetryJames Franco ReviewTHRUSHPlease Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poems for the Next Generation (Viking Penguin), among others. She lives in Chicago. You can get the new book on her publisher’s official website.

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