Review no 141: A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam (Bangladesh)

FAR EAST, SOUTH ASIA AND AUSTRALASIA First published in 2007, Tahmima Anam’s intimate civil war tale A Golden Age won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for the Best First Book and was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award. The edition I read was published in 2012 as part of the Canongate ‘the Canons‘ list, which …

Review no 111: artist Alberta Whittle (Barbados)

AMERICAS AND THE CARIBBEAN This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tate Britain awarded a Turner Prize bursary award to 10 artists, including Barbados-born artist Alberta Whittle, in place of the normal Turner Prize. She is a previous recipient of the Margaret Tait Award and this year also won the Frieze Artist Award for a …

Review no 54: The Attack, book by Yasmina Khadra (Algeria)

Translated from the French by John Cullen NORTH AFRICA, MIDDLE EAST AND CENTRAL ASIA Yasmina Khadra is the nom de plume used by veteran Algerian army officer Mohammed Moulessehoul, who now lives in France. He has written several novels that have been translated into English, including this one, The Attack, which has been shortlisted for …

Review no 41: José Eduardo Agualusa, A General Theory of Oblivion (Angola)

Translated by Daniel Hahn AFRICA The trouble with reading books from around the world is that there are so many war stories. Sometimes it feels as though every work of translated fiction I read is set in a war zone, past or present. Obviously I recognise the importance of hearing people’s stories and being informed …

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, …