We wrap up book news for our readers in our Book Digest feature. Today our focus is books from Jamal Mahjoub, Caroline Kinya Mbaya, Kwei Quartey, and Cherie Jones.
The Fugitives, Jamal Mahjoub
Publisher: Canongate Books
Publication Date: April 1, 2021
Genre: Literary Fiction
The Kamanga Kings, a Khartoum jazz band of yesteryear, is presented with the opportunity of a lifetime when a surprise letter arrives inviting them to perform in Washington, D.C. The only problem is . . . the band no longer exists.
Rushdy is a disaffected secondary school teacher and the son of an original Kamanga King. Determined to see a life beyond his own home, he sets out to revive the band. Aided by his unreliable best friend, all too soon an unlikely group are on their way, knowing the eyes of their country are on them.
As the group moves from the familiarity of Khartoum to the chaos of Donald Trump’s America, Jamal Mahjoub weaves a gently humorous and ultimately universal tale of music, belonging and love.
Jamal Mahjoub is a mixed-race writer of British and Sudanese parents. He writes in English and has published eight novels under his own name. In 2012, Mahjoub began writing a series of crime fiction novels under the pseudonym Parker Bilal.
Note: The author while sharing about this new book also shared that there is a Spotify playlist accompanying it. Check it out here.
Back-Fence Talk and Other Vices, Caroline Kinya Mbaya
Publication Date: January 11, 2021
Genre: Short Story Collection
A young woman who finds love on her daily commuter train encounters an unlikely foe; an absent sister’s letter arrives home in the nick of time; Swahili proverbs find their way into a strange airport encounter; a cunning loan sharkfinds herself in an unusual position; a young couple struggle with domestic violence; village superstition and gossip has a sensible school teacher turning to black magic; a prison break has two women confronting past trauma.With stories of superstition, murder, and unrequited love, this collection pokes fun at human folly and is bound to challenge your ideas about life, loyalty, and loss.
Caroline Kinya Mbaya
Caroline Kinya Mbaya is a Researcher, Educator and Writer. Her short stories have appeared in Wasafiri and in Quill & Ink Anthology, Aestas. Caroline grew up in a small town on the Kenyan Highlands. Back-Fence Talk and Other Vices is her first collection of short stories.
Sleep Well, My Lady, Kwei Quartey
Publisher: Soho Crime
Publication Date: January 12, 2021
Genre: Crime Fiction
In the follow-up to the acclaimed series debut The Missing American, PI Emma Djan investigates the death of a Ghanaian fashion icon and social media celebrity, Lady Araba.
Hard-hitting talk show host Augustus Seeza has become a household name in Ghana, though notorious for his lavish overspending, alcoholism, and womanizing. He’s dating the imposing, beautiful Lady Araba, who leads a selfmade fashion empire. Fearing Augustus is only after her money, Araba’s religious family intervenes to break them up. A few days later, just before a major runway show, Araba is found murdered in her bed. Her driver is arrested after a hasty investigation, but Araba’s favorite aunt, Dele, suspects Augustus Seeza was the real killer.
Almost a year later, Dele approaches Emma Djan, who has finally started to settle in as the only female PI at her agency. To solve Lady Araba’s murder, Emma must not only go on an undercover mission that dredges up trauma from her past, but navigate a long list of suspects with strong motives. Emma quickly discovers that they are all willing to lie for each other—and that one may still be willing to kill.
Kwei Quartey is a crime fiction writer and physician based in Pasadena, California. In 2018, having practiced medicine for more than 15 years while simultaneously working as a writer, Quartey finally retired from medical practice to become a full-time novelist. Prior to that, though, he had balanced the two professions by dedicating the early morning hours to writing before beginning each day in his clinic.
How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House, Cherie Jones
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Genre: Literary Fiction
In Baxter’s Beach, Barbados, Lala’s grandmother Wilma tells the story of the one-armed sister. It’s a cautionary tale, about what happens to girls who disobey their mothers and go into the Baxter’s Tunnels. When she’s grown, Lala lives on the beach with her husband, Adan, a petty criminal with endless charisma whose thwarted burglary of one of the beach mansions sets off a chain of events with terrible consequences. A gunshot no one was meant to witness. A new mother whose baby is found lifeless on the beach. A woman torn between two worlds and incapacitated by grief. And two men driven into the Tunnels by desperation and greed who attempt a crime that will risk their freedom – and their lives.
How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House is an intimate and visceral portrayal of interconnected lives, across race and class, in a rapidly changing resort town, told by an astonishing new author of literary fiction.
Cherie Jones, born in Barbados, is a graduate of the MA program at Sheffield Hallam University, she was awarded a fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center. Her short fiction has been published in PANK, Reflex Fiction and the Feminist Wire