Book Digest: Hemley Boum, Akwaeke Emezi, Moraa Gitaa, Nnedi Okorafor.

We wrap up book news for our readers in our Book Digest feature. Today we bring you books by Akwaeke Emezi, Hemley Boum, Nnedi Okorafor, and Moraa Gitaa.

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 with the books listed by the names of their writers.

Hemley Boum, Les Jours Viennent Et Passent

Publisher: Gallimard
Publication Date:
October 10, 2019
Genre: Literary Fiction
Language: French

At the end of her life, Anna remembers her eventful existence in a changing Cameroon, At her side, her only daughter, Abi, who has chosen to live in France, tries to resolve her own conflicts, to grant a love life and family responsibilities. A very young woman, Tina, survivor of Boko Haram camps, will mix her voice and her destiny with theirs. Through these three generations of women, Hemley Boum embraces, in the same romantic spirit, both the contemporary history of Cameroon and the eternal history of the human heart.

Hemley Boum is the award-winning writer of Le Clan Des Femmes (2010), Si D’aimer (2012), and Les Maquisards (2016). Les Jours Viennent Et Passent which was published in 2019 is now available in Cameroon.

Akwaeke Emezi, The Death of Vivek Oji

Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication Date: August 4, 2020
Genre: Literary Fiction
Language: English

One afternoon, in a town in South Eastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colourful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens—and Osita struggles to understand Vivek’s escalating crisis—the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom.

Nigerian-born US-based Akwaeke Emezi is an award winning writer whose titles include Freshwater (2018) and the Young Adult title Pet (2019). Get The Death of Vivek Oji by clicking here.

Let’s Talk About This, Moraa Gitaa

Publisher: Worlds Unknown Publishers
Publication Date: August 3, 2020
Genre: Young Adult
Language: English

Let’s Talk About This begins the morning after two young girls from two different cultural backgrounds, who have both suffered the trauma of rape and sexual assault, meet at the exclusive Angels of Mercy Girl’s Crisis Centre in Nairobi. Let’s Talk About This handles the issue of rape and sexual assault with sensitivity and comprises an engrossing read for young adults.

Let’s Talk About This is an engaging YA novella set in Kenya that recounts an end-of-the-year school party gone wrong. The book also focuses on forced child marriages and highlights how the rape and sexual assault of minors is often treated in a trivial manner.

Let’s Talk About This attempts to handle the situation of rape by providing a vehicle for this sensitive conversation to take place. Yet, the novella isn’t just a YA book about rape. It’s a cautionary tale that prompts people to stop prejudice and stereotyping and change the way we define the truth in sexual assault cases. Several questions arise about consent and consistency; consistency is a common test of credibility in courts – should victims be judged on the consistency of their witness statements, even though they might have been drugged, experienced bouts of blackouts and memory loss?

Moraa Gitaa is a Kenyan novelist who has written the novels Shifting Sands, Crucible For Silver and Furnace for Gold, Hila, and Shark Attack among other works. Get a copy of her new book here.

Ikenga, Nnedi Okorafor

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 18, 2020
Genre: Young Adult
Language: English

Nnamdi’s father was a good chief of police, perhaps the best Kalaria had ever had. He was determined to root out the criminals that had invaded the town. But then he was murdered, and most people believed the Chief of Chiefs, most powerful of the criminals, was responsible. Nnamdi has vowed to avenge his father, but he wonders what a twelve-year-old boy can do. Until a mysterious nighttime meeting, the gift of a magical object that enables super powers, and a charge to use those powers for good changes his life forever. How can he fulfill his mission? How will he learn to control his newfound powers?

Award-winning Nnedi Okorafor, acclaimed for her Akata novels, introduces a new and engaging hero in her first novel for middle grade readers set against a richly textured background of contemporary Nigeria. Get a copy of the book here.

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