Review no 68: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Ghana)

AFRICA Homegoing was published in 2016 to much praise. Gyasi was born in 1989 in Ghana, but grew up mainly in the USA. However, Homegoing, her first novel, was apparently inspired by a trip back to the country of her birth in 2009. At first the novel was a little disorientating, as the story cut […]

Review no 43: Romesh Gunesekera, Suncatcher (Sri Lanka)

FAR EAST, SOUTH ASIA AND AUSTRALASIA In this new release, set in 1960s Colombo, a young boy, Kairo, befriends an older teenager, the Gatsby-esque Jay, characterised by an alluring combination of macho self-confidence, practical proficiency and effortless daring. Kairo’s left-leaning family seem worlds apart from Jay’s life of cossetted wealth, and Kairo is entranced by […]

Review no 39: A Girl Made of Dust, Nathalie abi-Ezzi (Lebanon)

NORTH AFRICA, MIDDLE EAST AND CENTRAL ASIA I recently joined the Shelterbox Book Club, which for a donation of £10 a month sends me a regular book for discussion as part on an online book club, and also helps to provide emergency shelter and resources for families affected by disaster worldwide. The most recent book […]

Review no 36: Mariama Bâ (1929-81), Une Si Longue Lettre/So Long a Letter (Senegal)

Translated from the French by Modupé Bodé-Thomas AFRICA So Long a Letter is an epistolary novel (rare in African literature) and seminal African feminist work that laments injustices in the female experience in Senegal. The book was published in French in 1979, and first appeared in English in 1981. It has been judged to be […]

Review no 31: Frankenstein in Baghdad, Ahmed Saadawi (Iraq)

Translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright NORTH AFRICA, MIDDLE EAST AND CENTRAL ASIA This is a strange book with an excellent title, winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2014 and shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker international prize. (I often wonder what prompts a particular book to be translated into English, […]