We wrap up book news for our readers in our regular Book Digest feature with books from Nassuf Djailani, Bernardine Evaristo, Pheroze Nowrjee, and Yewande Omotoso.
Cette Morsure Trop Vive by Nassuf Djailani
Publisher: Atelier Nomades
Publication Date: June 10, 2021
Where to find it: Amazon,
Nassuf Djailani was born on the island of Mayotte in the Comoros archipelago. A journalist at France Television, he also writes for radio and print, and has contributed to literary journals in France (Riveneuve Continents and Ubu Théâtre scène d’Europe in particular). He won the Grand Prix littéraire de l’Océan Indien, as well as the Premier Prix de la poésie 2005, for his poetry collection Roucoulement. His other published work includes Spirale (poetry), published by Les Belles Pages Publishers in Marseille in 2004, and Une saison aux Comores (narrative) by Komédit Publishers in 2005 (reprinted in 2006). His dramatic piece La vertu des ombres has recently been staged by the Djumbé Theatre in the Comoros, and has been included in the programming of the Drama and Contemporary Dance Festival of Mayotte. He also received the Prix Hishima in 2008 and the Prix Bayard in 2005. Since 2010, he has edited Project-îles, a journal of analysis, criticism, and reflection on the art and literature of the Indian Ocean.
Cette Morsure Trop Vive (Eng: That bite too sharp)
Back from the fields, Soul stumbles on a toe which reveals the body of a young deceased woman. Innocent, the former soldier, is taken into custody. This war hero, admired by his brother and idolized by his mother who harbors overwhelming dreams for her children, is relegated to the rank of murderer. Soul cries out in his pain and desperation to end up wrongly in prison as a sprawling case weaves around this murder. When the examining magistrate intervenes, he reveals a gendarmerie brigade which overcomes the boredom in Mayotte, by a villainous traffic. This traffic which compromises the highest ranking Parisians, tears the language of the indiscreet, breaks the hearts of the innocent and seals the fates stricken by the sun.
An Unusual Grief by Yewande Omotoso
Publisher: Cassava Republic Press
Publication Date: October 12, 2021
Where to find it: Foyles,
Yewande Omotoso trained as an architect. Her debut novel Bom Boy (2011) was shortlisted for the 2012 Sunday Times Fiction Prize in South Africa. Yewande was shortlisted for the 2013 Etisalat Prize for Literature. Her second novel, Woman Next Door (2016), was longlisted for the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. In 2018, it was shortlisted for the International DUBLIN Literary Award and a finalist in the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Fiction. It has been translated into Catalan, Dutch, French, German. Italian and Korean. She currently lives in Johannesburg.
An Unusual Grief
How do you get to know your daughter when she is dead?
This is the question which takes a mother on a journey of self-discovery. When her daughter Yinka dies, Mojisola is finally forced to stop running away from the difficulties in their relationship, and also come to terms with Yinka the woman.
Mojisola’s grief leads her on a journey of self-discovery, as she moves into her daughter’s apartment and begins to unearth the life Yinka had built for herself there, away from her family. Through stepping into Yinka’s shoes, Mojisola comes to a better understanding not only of her estranged daughter, but also herself, as she learns to carve a place for herself in the world beyond the labels of wife and mother.
A bold and unflinching tale of one women’s unconventional approach to life and loss.
Manifesto: On Never Giving Up by Bernardine Evaristo
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton
Publication Date: October 7, 2021
Where to find it: Penguin.
Bernardine Evaristo is a British author and academic. Her eighth book, the novel, Girl, Woman, Other, won the Booker Prize in 2019, making her the first black woman and the first black British person to win it.
Manifesto: On Never Giving Up
The powerful, urgent manifesto on never giving up from Booker prize-winning trailblazer, Bernardine Evaristo
In 2019, Bernardine Evaristo became the first black woman to win the Booker Prize since its inception fifty years earlier – a revolutionary landmark for Britain. Her journey was a long one, but she made it, and she made history.
Manifesto is her intimate and fearless account of how she did it. From a childhood steeped in racism from neighbours, priests and even some white members of her own family, to discovering the arts through her local youth theatre; from stuffing her belongings into bin bags, always on the move between temporary homes, to exploring many romantic partners both toxic and loving, male and female, and eventually finding her soulmate; from setting up Britain’s first theatre company for Black women in the eighties to growing into the trailblazing writer, theatre-maker, teacher, mentor and activist we see today – Bernardine charts her rebellion against the mainstream and her life-long commitment to community and creativity. And, through the prism of her extraordinary experiences, she offers vital insights into the nature of race, class, feminism, sexuality and ageing in modern Britain.
Bernardine Evaristo’s life story is a manifesto for courage, integrity, optimism, resourcefulness and tenacity. It’s a manifesto for anyone who has ever stood on the margins, and anyone who wants to make their mark on history. It’s a manifesto for being unstoppable.
Station Master Eburru by Pheroze Nowrojee
Publisher: Manqa Books
Publication Date: August 14, 2021
Genre: Fiction/ Short Story Collection
Where to find it: Amazon, Prestige Books Nairobi.
Pheroze Nowrojee is a writer, human rights and constitutional lawyer and poet. He has written the books Active in the Furtherance and Other Stories (2020), A Kenyan Journey (2019), and Dukawalla and Other Stories (2017).
Station Master Eburru
In this collection of intimate, absorbing, and very human stories, Pheroze Nowrojee takes his readers back in time. The setting is the Kenya colony, roiling with undercurrents of discomfort, disaffection, and outright disobedience as colonial administrators attempted to enforce the racial stratification, coerced labour, and resource extraction that strictly benefitted themselves and their overlords. Some laws, including those targeting suspected Mau Mau sympathizers, were modelled on the South African laws, which were much admired by the Kenya colonial administration. Ordinary life persisted in the colony. In the Asian African community, this manifested in family businesses, cultural and religious occasions, sports events, or culinary traditions. But as people went about their daily tasks—engaging in humble livelihoods, pursuing an education, seeking adventure, finding romance, or actively resisting the colonial enterprise—the unjust British occupation and its aftermath pervaded every space and affected every relationship.