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Book Digest: TL Huchu, Priya Hein, Geovani Martins, Chikodili Emelumadu

We wrap up book news for our readers in our regular Book Digest segment with new books from TL Huchu, Priya Hein, Geovani Martins, and Chikodili Emelumadu.

Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments by TL Huchu

Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date:  Original date: March 3, 2022, US date: February 21, 2023
Genre: Mystery
Language: English  
Where to find it: Macmillan.

TL Huchu

TL Huchu
TL Huchu

T. L. Huchu has been published previously (as Tendai Huchu) in the adult market, but the Edinburgh Nights series is his genre fiction debut. His previous books (The Hairdresser of Harare and The Maestro, The Magistrate and the Mathematician) have been translated into multiple languages and his short fiction has won awards. Tendai grew up in Zimbabwe but has lived in Edinburgh for most of his adult life.

Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments

Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments by TL Huchu

T.L. Huchu returns with the gripping Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments, the next in the Alex-Award-winning Edinburgh Nights series.

Some secrets are meant to stay buried When Ropa Moyo discovered an occult underground library, she expected great things. She’s really into Edinburgh’s secret societies – but turns out they are less into her. So instead of getting paid to work magic, she’s had to accept a crummy unpaid internship. And her with bills to pay and a pet fox to feed.

Then her friend Priya offers her a job on the side. Priya works at Our Lady of Mysterious Maladies, a very specialized hospital, where a new illness is resisting magical and medical remedies alike. The first patient was a teenage boy, Max Wu, and his healers are baffled. If Ropa can solve the case, she might earn as she learns – and impress her mentor, Sir Callander.

Her sleuthing will lead her to a lost fortune, an avenging spirit and a secret buried deep in Scotland’s past. But how are they connected? Lives are at stake and Ropa is running out of time.

Riambel by Priya Hein

Publisher: Indigo Press
Publication Date:  February 23, 2023
Genre: Literary fiction
Language: English
Where to find it: Indigo Press.

Priya Hein  

Priya Hein
Priya Hein

Priya Hein was born in Mauritius. She has published several children’s books and short stories and has contributed to a number of anthologies. In 2017 she was nominated by the National Library of Mauritius for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. She was selected for the Women’s Creative Mentorship Project for the University of Iowa International Writing Program as an emerging writer.

Her debut manuscript Riambel won the 2021 Jean Fanchette Prize, chaired by J.M.G Le Clézio, winner of a Nobel Prize for literature. She was recently named by Electric Literature Magazine as one of twelve Mauritian Women Writers one should read. Priya lives in Munich and Mauritius with her family.


Riambel by Priya Hein

Fifteen-year-old Noemi has no choice but to leave school and work in the house of the wealthy De Grandbourg family. Just across the road from the slums where she grew up, she encounters a world that is starkly different from her own ­– yet one which would have been all too familiar to her ancestors. Bewitched by a pair of green eyes and haunted by echoes, her life begins to mirror those of girls who have gone before her.

Within Noemi’s lament is also the herstory of Mauritius; the story of women who have resisted arrest, of teachers who care for their poorest pupils and encourage them to challenge traditional narratives, of a flawed Paradise undergoing slow but unstoppable change.

In Riambel, Priya Hein invites us to protest, to rail against longstanding structures of class and ethnicity. She shows us a world of natural enchantment contrasted with violence and the abuse of power. This seemingly simple tale of servitude, seduction and abandonment blisters with a fierce sense of injustice.

The Sun on My Head by Geovani Martins (Translated from the Portuguese by Julia Sanches)

Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Publication Date:  June 11, 2019
Genre: Literary Fiction
Language: English (translated from Portuguese).
Where to find it: Macmillan, Faber.

Geovani Martins

Geovani Martins
Geovani Martins

Geovani Martins was born in 1991 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He grew up with his mother in the Rio neighbourhood of Vidigal. He supported his writing by working as a sandwich-board man and selling drinks on the beach, and was discovered during creative writing workshops at Flup, the literary festival of the Rio favelas. The Sun on My Head is his first book.

The Sun on My Head

The Sun on My Head by Geovani Martins

In The Sun on My Head, Geovani Martins recounts the experiences of boys growing up in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro in the early years of the twenty-first century. Drawing on his childhood and adolescence, Martins uses the rhythms and slang of his neighbourhood dialect to capture the texture of life in the slums, where every day is shadowed by a ubiquitous drug culture, the constant threat of the police, and the confines of poverty, violence, and racial oppression. And yet these are also stories of friendship, romance, and momentary relief, as in “Rolézim,” where a group of teenagers head to the beach. Other stories, all uncompromising in their realism and yet diverse in narrative form, explore the changes that occur when militarized police occupy the favelas in the lead-up to the World Cup, the cycles of violence in the narcotics trade, and the feelings of invisibility that define the realities of so many in Rio’s underclass.

The Sun on My Head is a work of great talent and sensitivity, a daring evocation of life in the favelas by a rising star rooted in the community he portrays.

Dazzling by Chikodili Emelumadu

Publisher:  Hachette
Publication Date:  February 19, 2023
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Language:  English
Where to find it: Hachette.

Chikodili Emelumadu

Chikodili Emelumadu
Chikodili Emelumadu

Chikodili Emelumadu was born in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, and raised in Awka, Nigeria. A product of not one but two Nigerian boarding schools, she went on to attend Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Nigeria and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. She was the winner of the Curtis Brown First Novel Prize in 2019. Her work has also been shortlisted for the Shirley Jackson Awards (2015), a Nommo Award (2020), and the Caine Prize for African Literature (2017 & 2020).


Dazzling by Chikodili Emelumadu

Soon you will become the thing all other beasts fear.

Treasure and her mother lost everything when Treasure’s daddy died. Haggling for scraps in the market, Treasure meets a spirit who promises to bring her father back – but she has to do something for him first.

Ozoemena has an itch in the middle of her back that can’t be scratched. An itch that speaks to her patrilineal destiny, to defend her people by becoming a leopard. Her father impressed upon her what an honour this was before he vanished, but it’s one she couldn’t want less.

But as the two girls reckon with their burgeoning wildness and the legacy of their fathers’ decisions, Ozoemena’s fellow students at her new boarding school start to vanish. Treasure and Ozoemena will face terrible choices as each must ask herself: in a world that always says ‘no’ to women, what must two young girls sacrifice to get what is theirs?

By James Murua

This blog is run by James Murua a Nairobi, Kenya based lover of books.

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