Book Digest: Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu, Sue Nyathi, Ciku Kimeria, Laila Lalami.

We wrap up book news for our readers in our Book Digest feature. Today our focus is books from Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu, Sue Nyathi, Ciku Kimeria, and Laila Lalami.

Ciku Kimeria, Dance of the Monkeys

Publication Date: October 26, 2020
Genre: Literary Fiction
Language: English


From the author of the well-acclaimed, unputdownable, Of goats and Poisoned Oranges, comes this gripping mystery novel that will have you on the edge of your seat!

A fancy Nairobi engagement party turns deadly. What is to be a special night for Mwende and her fiancé, Oti, takes an unexpected twist. Private investigator, Wanjiru Mdaku, is in a race against time to find the culprit out to get Mwende, the daughter of the infamous local businessman, Al Capone wa County. In trying to solve this mystery, Wanjiru Mdaku finds herself navigating treacherous waters of the Lamu drugworld, county mafia, political rivalries, a well-connected megachurch and countless love triangles. Can our heroine solve this mystery before the culprit gets Mwende?

Ciku Kimeria is a development consultant, adventurer and travel blogger. Her first novel was Of goats and Poisoned Oranges.

Where to find it: Amazon or from the author.

Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu, The History of Man

Publisher: Penguin Books (South Africa)
Publication Date: October 2, 2020
Genre: Literary Fiction
Language: English


Emil Coetzee, a civil servant in his fifties, is washing blood off his hands when the ceasefire is announced.

Like everyone else, he feels unmoored by the end of the conflict. War had given him his sense of purpose, his identity.

But why has Emil’s life turned out so different from his parents’, who spent cheery Friday evenings flapping and flailing the Charleston or dancing the foxtrot? What happened to the Emil who used to wade through the singing elephant grass of the savannah, losing himself in it?

Prize-winning novelist Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu traces Emil’s life from boyhood to manhood – from his days at a privileged boarding school with the motto ‘It is here that boys become the men of history’, to his falling in love with the ever-elusive Marion, whose free-spirited nature has dire consequences for his heart – all the while showing how Emil becomes a man apart.

Set in a southern African country that is never named, this powerful tale of human fallibility – told with empathy, generosity and a light touch – is an excursion into the interiority of the coloniser.

Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu is a writer, filmmaker and academic who holds a PhD from Stanford University, as well as master’s degrees in African Studies and Film. She has published research on Saartjie Baartman and she wrote, directed and edited the award-winning short film Graffiti. Born in Zimbabwe, she currently lives and works in Johannesburg. The Theory of Flight is her first novel.

Where to find it: Click here.

Laila Lalami, Conditional Citizens

Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication Date: October 2, 2020
Genre: Essays| Biography & Memoir | Domestic Politics
Language: English


What does it mean to be American? In this starkly illuminating and impassioned book, Pulitzer Prize­­–finalist Laila Lalami recounts her unlikely journey from Moroccan immigrant to U.S. citizen, using it as a starting point for her exploration of the rights, liberties, and protections that are traditionally associated with American citizenship. Tapping into history, politics, and literature, she elucidates how accidents of birth—such as national origin, race, and gender—that once determined the boundaries of Americanness still cast their shadows today.

Lalami poignantly illustrates how white supremacy survives through adaptation and legislation, with the result that a caste system is maintained that keeps the modern equivalent of white male landowners at the top of the social hierarchy. Conditional citizens, she argues, are all the people with whom America embraces with one arm and pushes away with the other.

Brilliantly argued and deeply personal, Conditional Citizens weaves together Lalami’s own experiences with explorations of the place of nonwhites in the broader American culture.

Listen to a sample of this book


Laila Lalami is a Moroccan-American novelist, essayist, and professor. Her books include Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits (2005), Secret Son (2009), How I Became My Mother’s Daughter (2009), The Moor’s Account (2014), and The Other Americans (2019).

Where to find it: Click here.

Sue Nyathi, A Family Affair

Publisher: Pan Macmillan SA
Publication Date: October 1, 2020
Genre: Literary Fiction
Language: English


Family is complicated …

Meet the Mafus, a close-knit, traditional family with three daughters. As leaders of their church, The Kingdom of God, Pastor Abraham and his wife Phumla are guiding the community of Bulawayo in faith, while trying to keep the different branches of their family intact.

Independent and feisty Xoliswa returns home, after a hiatus abroad, hoping for a fresh start and a chance to steer the family business; rebellious Yandisa has met the love of her life and is finally getting her act together; while dutiful newlywed Zandile is slowly becoming disillusioned with her happily ever after.

The Mafus always present a united front, but as their personal lives unravel, devastating secrets are revealed that threaten to tear the family apart. For how long will they be able to hide behind the façade of a picture-perfect family?

Sue Nyathi is the author of The Polygamist (2012) and The Gold Diggers (2018)

Why to find it: From her publisher or from Amazon.

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