We wrap up book news for our readers in our regular Book Digest segment with books from Kayo Mpoyi, Sue Nyathi, Leye Adenle, and Dionne Irving.
Dieu Est Un Garçon Noir à Lunettes by Kayo Mpoyi
Publisher: Mara Books
Publication Date: August 31, 2022
Where to find it: Babelio,
Kayo Mpoyi is a Sweden-based Congolese writer whose debut novel Mai Betyder Vatten (Mai Means Water) was released in 2019. As in much of her recent work, this book focuses on women, sexuality, and trauma. The story itself is a study in what makes a family with a history of colonialism, violence, and displacement, become what it is. The book has been awarded Best Debut of 2019 by the Swedish Writers Union. It has been translated into Finnish and is now being translated into German and French.
Dieu Est Un Garçon Noir à Lunettes (God Is A Black Boy With Glasses)
1989, Tanzania. Adi lives in Dar es Salaam with his family in a company apartment lent by the Zaire embassy. From the height of her 6 years, the little girl observes the world around her. His father, a word-obsessed, authoritarian and omnipotent mathematician. His mother, with her body covered in mysterious lines. Her big sister Dina, the twirling one. And Mai, the perpetually sick baby, with dark eyes.
But there are also brothers and sisters back home, in a region devastated by centuries of exploitation and violence. Mr. Elephant, the sticky-handed neighbor. The mold-men, who live on the roof terrace. Shekila and his wife, who live in the electric kettle. And then, there is god, who watches over Adi and sees everything she would like to keep hidden, like this sticky secret she carries inside her.
Kayo Mpoyi gives us here a story of myths, beliefs, curses and wars, but also of strength and rebirth. An intense and luminous novel.
An Angel’s Demise by Sue Nyathi
Publisher: Pan Macmillan South Africa
Publication Date: October 17, 2022
Where to find it: Pan Macmillan South Africa
An investment analyst by profession, and a writer by passion, Sue Nyathi is the editor of When Secrets Become Stories, Women Speak Out an anthology of nonfiction narratives of female encounters with gender-based violence through the lifecycle of womanhood. The Zimbabwe-born South Africa-based Nyathi is also the author of the three novels The Polygamist, The GoldDiggers and A Family Affair.
An Angel’s Demise
An Angel’s Demise is an epic saga that explores a contested legacy and the heartrending destiny of a family. The year is 1977 and the story begins on a farm in Somabhula with the birth of Angel.
The farm is run by Paul Williams, an outwardly harsh and bigoted man who holds the livelihoods of many in his hands. When Angel’s parents join the liberation struggle, she is left in the care of her grandmothers, who have been in service to the Williams family for generations.
Angel grows up on the farm over three momentous decades that see a convoluted past and inheritance unfold into an equally complicated present. Through her, we see a woman’s quest to unearth her identity and assert her independence. In the process of self-discovery, Angel realises that sometimes you need to be uprooted before you can grow.
An Angel’s Demise, Sue Nyathi’s fourth novel, is a gripping tale infused with spirituality. It recounts an explosive story of love, war, bloody massacre and betrayal that encompasses a harrowing history, the cruel caprice of politics, gender-based violence and what happens when ordinary people get caught up in lies.
The Island: Stories by Dionne Irving
Dionne Irving is originally from Toronto, Ontario. Her work has appeared in Story, Boulevard, LitHub, Missouri Review, and New Delta Review, among other journals and magazines. Her first novel Quint came out in the fall of 2021.She currently teaches in the Creative Writing Program and the Initiative on Race and Resilience at the University of Notre Dame, and lives in Indiana with her husband and son.
The Island: Stories
The Islands follows the lives of Jamaican women—immigrants or the descendants of immigrants—who have relocated all over the world to escape the ghosts of colonialism on what they call the Island. Set in the United States, Jamaica, and Europe, these international stories examine the lives of an uncertain and unsettled cast of characters. In one story, a woman and her husband impulsively leave San Francisco and move to Florida with wild dreams of American reinvention only to unearth the cracks in their marriage. In another, the only Jamaican mother—who is also a touring comedienne—at a prep school feels pressure to volunteer in the school’s International Day. Meanwhile, in a third story, a travel writer finally connects with the mother who once abandoned her.
Set in locations and times ranging from 1950s London to 1960s Panama to modern-day New Jersey, Dionne Irving reveals the intricacies of immigration and assimilation in this debut, establishing a new and unforgettable voice in Caribbean-American literature. Restless, displaced, and disconnected, these characters try to ground themselves—to grow where they find themselves planted—in a world in which the tension between what’s said and unsaid can bend the soul.
Unfinished Business by Leye Adenle
Publisher: Cassava Republic Press
Publication Date: October 18, 2022
Where to find it: Barnes & Noble.
Leye Adenle is the author of the award-winning Amaka thriller series, Easy Motion Tourist and When Trouble Sleeps. He is also contributor to Lagos Noir (Akashic Books, 2018) and Sunshine Noir (White Sun Books, 2016). His short story ‘The Assassin’ was shortlisted for the CWA Short Story Dagger 2017. Leye is from a family of writers, the most famous of whom was his grandfather, Oba Adeleye Adenle I, a former king of Oshogbo in South West Nigeria. Leye lives in London. He has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Open Book’ and is a regular panelist at literary and crime festivals.
A frantic phone call interrupts Amaka Mbadiwe’s new life in London. A renowned pastor has been assassinated in his hotel room while one of her girls, Funke, hid naked and terrified inside a sofa. Amaka is headed back to Lagos, and to a new world of private jets, money laundering and mega-churches. With her trusted ally Police Inspector Ibrahim out of the country, and the hostile Inspector Musa breathing down her neck, Amaka must race against the clock to rescue Funke and untangle this twisted web of religion, power and politics. With a punishing intensity, full of twists and turns, this electrifying sequel to When Trouble Sleeps allows readers to dive into the seedy underworld of Lagos, and the darker aspects of religion, greed, and manipulation.