We wrap up book news for our readers in our regular Book Digest feature with books from Bisi Adjapon, Khadija Abdalla Bajaber, Nsah Mala, Mbizo Chirasha, and Albert Dalela
Keeper of Secrets by Bisi Adjapon
Publication Date: November 16, 2021
Where to find it: HarperCollins
Bisi Adjapon is the writer of the critically acclaimed novel, Of Women and Frogs, one of Daily Trust’s Top 15 novels of 2018. A former International Affairs Specialist, her writings have appeared in journals and newspapers including McSweeney’s Quarterly, Washington Times, Brittle Paper and Chicken Bones. Bisi has been a featured guest at Ake Festival and Pa Gya as well as numerous TV and radio programs.
Keeper of Secrets
In this stunning debut novel—a tale of self-discovery and feminist awakening—a feisty Nigerian-Ghanaian girl growing up amid the political upheaval of late 1960s postcolonial Ghana begins to question the hypocrisy of her patriarchal society, and the restrictions and unrealistic expectations placed on women.
Young Esi Agyekum is the unofficial “secret keeper” of her family, as tight-lipped about her father’s adultery as she is about her half-sisters’ sex lives. But after she is humiliated and punished for her own sexual exploration, Esi begins to question why women’s secrets and men’s secrets bear different consequences. It is the beginning of a journey of discovery that will lead her to unexpected places.
As she navigates her burgeoning womanhood, Esi tries to reconcile her own ideals and dreams with her family’s complicated past and troubled present, as well as society’s many double standards that limit her and other women. Against a fraught political climate, Esi fights to carve out her own identity, and learns to manifest her power in surprising and inspiring ways.
Funny, fresh, and fiercely original, The Teller of Secrets marks the American debut of one of West Africa’s most exciting literary talents.
The House of Rust by Khadija Abdalla Bajaber
Publisher: Graywolf Press/Jahazi Press
Publication Date: October 19, 2021
Where to find it:Graywolf Press
Khadija Abdalla Bajaber
Khadija Abdalla Bajaber is a Mombasa-born poet and novelist with a degree in journalism whose manuscript was selected as the first winner of the Graywolf Press Africa Prize, awarded for a first novel manuscript by an African author primarily residing in Africa
The House of Rust
The House of Rust is an enchanting novel about a Hadhrami girl in Mombasa. When her fisherman father goes missing, Aisha takes to the sea on a magical boat made of a skeleton to rescue him. She is guided by a talking scholar’s cat (and soon crows, goats, and other animals all have their say, too). On this journey Aisha meets three terrifying sea monsters. After she survives a final confrontation with Baba wa Papa, the father of all sharks, she rescues her own father, and hopes that life will return to normal. But at home, things only grow stranger.
Khadija Abdalla Bajaber’s debut is a magical realist coming-of-age tale told through the lens of the Swahili and diasporic Hadhrami culture in Mombasa, Kenya. Richly descriptive and written with an imaginative hand and sharp eye for unusual detail, The House of Rust is a memorable novel by a thrilling new voice.
Corpses of Unity An Anthology of Poems edited by Nsah Mala, Mbizo Chirasha
Nsah Mala, Mbizo Chirasha
Nsah Mala is a multilingual Anglophone Cameroonian poet and short story writer with 4 poetry books published. He is currently doing his PhD studies.
Mbizo Chirasha is a widely-known poet-activist and performance artist from Zimbabwe, currently living in exile in South Africa. He has curated or initiated many literary projects such as Girl Child Talent Festival, Girl Child Creativity Project, Brave Voices Poetry Journal, Miombo Publishing, the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign, and Womawords Literary Press. He is the 2019 Poet-in- Residence at the Fictional Café and the 2019 African Fellow for the International Human Rights Art Festival (ihraf.org). Mbizo has been visiting artists in Sweden, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania, and beyond. His experimental poetry collection, A Letter to the President, was published in 2019.
Corpses of Unity An Anthology of Poems
Cameroon is no longer a peace-haven in Central Africa. This bilingual poetry anthology is a literary response to the avoidable but worsening and under-reported fratricidal war in Anglophone Cameroon. Written in English and French, the anthology brings together thirty-three poets from thirteen countries in Africa and beyond. The poets are concerned with the blood baths, burnings and other crimes committed in Anglophone Cameroon in the name of unity or division. Their poems paint raw images of the cruel killings of old people, pregnant women and children like those of #NgarbuhMassacre. They excavate the hidden mass graves and unveil the countless villages reduced to ashes and rubble. They recall the burning of animals and food and the brutal killing of nurses, patients and teachers. Their stanzas meander along with refugees in forests into Nigeria, into the jungles of Mexico en route to the US, and elsewhere. It is poetry speaking for human life and dignity, for peace and education, for inclusive dialogue, for reconciliation. It is poetry which should ruffle the consciences of those doing business in war, those pulling strings behind curtains, those who see oil before humans, those who trigger guns at their own brothers, sisters and parents, those who give orders to kill—in short, those who enjoy warfare as they profit from the spoils of war. This anthology seeks to raise global awareness on this forgotten war as a way of contributing to justice, healing, and peace in Cameroon.
Gole de Lâminas by Albert Dalela
Publisher: Ethale Books
Publication Date: November 23, 2021
Where to find it:Ethale Books
Learn more about Dalela by watching the below video
Gole de Lâminas
A novel with just over 400 pages, Gole de Lâminas is the debut book of Albert Dalela, a writer who has in writing his refuge and who intends with it to make his contribution to humanity. Introspective and philosophical, “Sip of Blades” is, without doubt and borders, a timeless novel, an x-ray of contemporary society, with nuances from Steinbeck’s “Vineyards of Wrath” through a style with features of John Fante, with the absurdity of Camus and the rhythm of Auster.