Book digest

We wrap up book news for our readers in our first Book Digest segment for 2022 with books from Michèle Rakotoson, Pumla Dineo Gqola, Anni Domingo, and Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond.

Ambatomanga, Le silence et la douleur by Michèle Rakotoson

Publisher: Atelier des nomades
Publication Date: May 5, 2022
Genre: Fiction
Language: French
Where to find it: Forthcoming.

Michèle Rakotoson

Michèle Rakotoson
Michèle Rakotoson

Michèle Rakotoson is a writer, journalist, and Film Maker from Madagascar. Her novels include Dadabé. She was appointed commander of Malagasy Arts and Letters in 2012. She also received the great medal of la Francophonie for all her work, awarded by the Academie française. Since 1983, she has lived mainly in France.

Ambatomanga, Le silence et la douleur

Ambatomanga, Le silence et la douleur

In 1894, when France was preparing to invade Madagascar, Félicien Le Guen left Brittany to join his contingent on the big island. Tavao, a young slave, in the service of a Malagasy family meanwhile lives in Ambatomanga in fear of an imminent war. Tens of thousands of men, war cars, heavy artillery, France must show its power.

Faced with the arrogance of the invaders, Queen Razafindrahety organizes the counter-offensive to protect her lands and her people. Tavao then leaves his pregnant wife, his village, in pain, to join his master Randriambao in battle.

While Félicien Le Guen decomposes over the throbbing crossing of forests, ravines, swamps infested with mosquitoes, Tavao is devoured by fatigue, hunger, the smell of fire and gunpowder.

Female Fear Factory: Unravelling Patriarchy’s Cultures of Violence by Pumla Dineo Gqola

Publisher: Cassava Republic Press
Publication Date: March 15, 2022
Genre: Nonfiction
Language: English
Where to find it: Cassava Republic Press, Bookshop, Amazon

Pumla Dineo Gqola

Pumla Dineo Gqola
Pumla Dineo Gqola

Pumla Dineo Gqola is a feminist author and Research Professor at the Centre for Women and Gender Studies at the Nelson Mandela University in South Africa. She is author What is slavery to me? Postcolonial/Slave Memory in Post-Apartheid South Africa (2010), A renegade called Simphiwe (2013) Rape: A South African Nightmare (2015), which won the 2016 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award for Non-Fiction, and Reflecting Rogue: Inside the mind of a feminist (2017). Gqola holds Master’s degrees from the Universities of Cape Town (RSA) and University of Warwick (UK) and a DPhil in Postcolonial Studies from the University of Munich (Germany). Her research and teaching fields include postcolonial theory, feminist theory and literature, Black Consciousness literature, gender discourse in post-apartheid South Africa and slave memory in the African world. She sits on various academic journal boards, including African Identities, Feminist Africa, English Academy Review and Women’s Studies International. She has written op-eds, features and columns for New Frame, City Press, Mail and Guardian, Drum (UK), Chimurenga, Wordsetc, The Africa Report and BBC Focus on Africa magazine. Her short stories have been published in literary journals and anthologies on three continents.

Female Fear Factory: Unravelling Patriarchy’s Cultures of Violence

Female Fear Factory: Unravelling Patriarchy's Cultures of Violence by Pumla Dineo Gqola

Patriarchy does not respect national boundaries. It is unabashedly promiscuous in its influences and tethers. Yet, it does use nationalism very productively. An empty street at night. A crowded bus. A lecture hall. All sites of female fear, instilled in women and those who have been constructed female, from an early age. Drawing on examples from around the world – from Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa to Saudi Arabia, the Americas and Europe, Gqola traces the construction and machinations of the female fear factory by exposing its lies, myths, and seductions. She shows how seemingly disparate effects, like driving bans, street harassment, and coercive professors, are the product of the ever-turning machinery of the female fear factory, and its use of fear as a tool of patriarchal subjugation and punishment. Female Fear Factory: Gender and Patriarchy under Racial Capitalism is a sobering account of patriarchal violence in the world, and a hopeful vision for the work of unapologetic feminist imaginative strategies across the globe.

Breaking The Maafa Chain by Anni Domingo

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: September 23, 2021
Genre: Fiction
Language: English
Where to find it: Simon & Schuster

Anni Domingo

 Anni Domingo
Anni Domingo

Anni Domingo is an actress, director and writer. She is currently a lecturer in Drama and Directing at St. Mary’s University in Twickenham and Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama. Anni’s poems and short stories have been published in various anthologies and an extract from Breaking the Maafa Chain won the Myriad Editions First Novel competition and was featured in the New Daughters of Africa anthology edited by Margaret Busby.

Breaking The Maafa Chain

Breaking The Maafa Chain

Breaking the Maafa Chain chronicles two sisters’ struggle for true freedom in the mid-nineteenth century, when transporting slaves from Africa to America was an illegal but lucrative business

Nineteenth century—Two sisters, Fatmata and Salimatu, are captured and sold separately into slavery. Forced to change their names to Faith and Sarah, they end up in two different countries with opposite slavery laws. Faith ends up in America, where slavery is still legal and slaves don’t have any rights. Sarah ends up in a Victorian England as the goddaughter of Queen Victoria. Can the two sisters reclaim their freedom and identity in a world that is trying to break them down and mold them to its coloniser’s will? Based on the true story of Sarah Forbes Bonetta,

Breaking the Maafa Chain will take the readers on a journey of loss, survival, hope, identity and tradition.

Blue by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond (Illustrated by Daniel Minter)

Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication Date: February 15, 2022
Genre: Children’s fiction
Language: English
Where to find it: Penguin Random House

Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond

Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond
Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond

Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond is the author of Powder Necklace, which Publishers Weekly called “a winning debut.” She was a 2019 Edward Albee Foundation Fellow, a 2018 Pa Gya! Literary Festival Guest Author, a 2018 Ake Arts and Book Festival Guest Author, a 2018 Hobart Festival of Women Writers Guest Author, a 2017 Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar, a 2016 Hedgbrook Writer-in-Residence, a 2015 Rhode Island Writers Colony Writer-in-Residence, and in both 2015 and 2014, she was shortlisted for a Miles Morland Writing Scholarship. Every month, Brew-Hammond co-leads a monthly writing fellowship at Manhattan’s Center for Faith and Work.

Blue

Blue by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond (Illustrated by Daniel Minter)

Discover a world of creativity and tradition in this fascinating picture book that explores the history and cultural significance of the color blue. From a critically acclaimed author and an award-winning illustrator comes a vivid, gorgeous book for readers of all ages.

For centuries, blue powders and dyes were some of the most sought-after materials in the world. Ancient Afghan painters ground mass quantities of sapphire rocks to use for their paints, while snails were harvested in Eurasia for the tiny amounts of blue that their bodies would release.

And then there was indigo, which was so valuable that American plantations grew it as a cash crop on the backs of African slaves. It wasn’t until 1905, when Adolf von Baeyer created a chemical blue dye, that blue could be used for anything and everything–most notably that uniform of workers everywhere, blue jeans.

With stunning illustrations by Caldecott Honor Artist Daniel Minter, this vibrant and fascinating picture book follows one color’s journey through time and across the world, as it becomes the blue we know today.