We wrap up book news for our readers in our regular Book Digest segment with books from Tsitsi Dangarembga, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Krystle Zara Appiah, and Nathacha Appanah.
Black and Female by Tsitsi Dangarembga
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publication Date: January 17, 2023
Genre: Nonfiction, Essays
Where to find it: Graywolf Press
Tsitsi Dangarembga’s debut novel Nervous Condition (1988) was hailed by Doris Lessing as one of the most important novels of the twentieth century and was included in the BBC’s 2018 list of the 100 books that shaped the world. The Book of Not (2006) and This Mournable Body (2018) complete the Tambudzai Trilogy. This Mournable Body was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2020. She is also a filmmaker, playwright, and the director and founder of the Institute of Creative Arts for Progress in Africa Trust.
Black and Female
The first wound for all of us who are classified as “black” is empire. In Black and Female, Tsitsi Dangarembga examines the legacy of imperialism on her own life and on every aspect of black embodied African life. This paradigm-shifting essay collection weaves the personal and political in an illuminating exploration of race and gender. Dangarembga recounts a painful separation from her parents as a toddler, connecting this experience to the ruptures caused in Africa by human trafficking and enslavement. She argues that, after independence, the ruling party in Zimbabwe only performed inclusion for women while silencing the work of self-actualized feminists. She describes her struggles to realize her ambitions in theater, film, and literature, laying out the long path to the publication of her novels. At once philosophical, intimate, and urgent, Black and Female is a powerful testimony of the pervasive and long-lasting effects of racism and patriarchy that provides an ultimately hopeful vision for change. Black feminists are “the status quo’s worst nightmare.” Dangarembga writes, “our conviction is deep, bolstered by a vivid imagination that reminds us that other realities are possible beyond the one that obtains.”
Rootless by Krystle Zara Appiah
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publishing Date: March 7, 2023
Where to find it: Click here.
Krystle Zara Appiah
Krystle Zara Appiah is a British-Ghanaian writer, editor, and screenwriter, born and raised in London. She has a degree in literature and creative writing from the University of Kent. She was one of forty writers selected for the London Library’s Emerging Writers Programme. Rootless is her debut novel.
On a Spring afternoon in London, Sam hops the stairs of his flat two at a time. There’s £1,300 missing from his and his wife, Efe’s, shared bank account and his calls are going straight to voicemail. When he finally reaches someone, he learns Efe is nearly 5,000 miles away as their toddler looks around and asks, “Where’s Mummy?”
When Efe and Sam met as teens headed for university, it seemed everyone knew they were meant to be. Efe, newly arrived in the UK from Ghana and sinking under the weight of her parents’ expectations, found comfort in the focused and idealistic Sam. He was stable, working toward a law career, and had an unwavering vision for their future. A vision Efe, now a decade later, finds slightly insufferable. From the outside, they’re the picture-perfect couple everyone imagined, but there are cracks in the frame. When Efe and Sam are faced with an unplanned pregnancy, they find themselves on opposing sides. Fatherhood is everything he has dreamed of, but Efe feels stuck in a nightmare. And when a new revelation emerges, they are forced to confront just how radically different they want their lives to be. Already swallowed by the demands of motherhood and feeling the dreams she had slipping away once again, Efe disappears.
Rootless is a heartrending love story about motherhood and sacrifice, providing an intimate look at what happens after a marriage collapses, leading two people to rediscover what they ultimately want—and if it’s still each other. As Efe says, “Love and regret aren’t mutually exclusive.”
Rien ne t’appartient by Nathacha Appanah
Publication Date: August 19, 2021
Where to find it: Amazon
Nathacha Appanah is a Mauritian-French author.
Rien ne t’appartient
It’s not just grief and loneliness that have tormented Tara since the death of her husband. In her, something rises and rumbles like a wave. It’s the resurgence of a story she thought was stifled, it’s the reappearance of the one she had been before. A girl with another name, who loved to laugh and dance, who believed in eternal childhood until she was overtaken by the demons of her country. Through the destiny of Tara, Nathacha Appanah offers us a sensual and implacable immersion in a world where you have to go to the end of yourself to preserve your integrity.
When We Were Butterflies by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim
Publisher: Masobe Books
Publication Date: March 7, 2023
Where to find it: Masobe Books.
Abubakar Adam Ibrahim
Abubakar Adam Ibrahim is a Nigerian creative writer and journalist. His debut short-story collection The Whispering Trees was longlisted for the inaugural Etisalat Prize for Literature in 2014, with the title story shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing. Ibrahim has won the BBC African Performance Prize and the ANA Plateau/Amatu Braide Prize for Prose and in 2014, he was selected for the Africa39 list of writers aged under 40 with potential and talent to define future trends in African literature. His first novel, Season of Crimson Blossoms, won the Nigerian Prize for Literature, Africa’s largest literary prize in 2016.
When We Were Fireflies is his fourth book.
When We Were Butterflies
When brooding artist, Yarima Lalo, encounters a moving train for the first time, two serendipitous events occur. First, it triggers memories of past lives in which he was twice murdered—once on a train. He also meets Aziza, a woman with a complicated past of her own, who becomes key to helping him understand what he is experiencing. With a third death in his current life imminent, together they go hunting for remnants of his past lives. Will they find evidence that he is losing his mind or the people who once loved or loathed him?