Reading List: African Fiction #1

I use lists to focus my reading and also to keep track of books that I’m interested in, especially those that I feel I must read.  It may take me 3, 6, 12 months or more to go through any particular list as I tend to mix up my reading.  Below is my current list of African fiction that, for one reason or another, I want to pay particular attention to.

  1. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor – an emotionally fraught, supernatural odyssey set in post-apocalyptic Saharan Africa.  I’m excited about getting my hands on this book, especially after reading Wizard of the Crow. I’m in the mood for more fantasy fiction from Africa.
  2. Starbook by Ben Okri – described as “a magical tale of regeneration and love”.
  3. The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar: A Novel of Magical Vision by Syl Cheney Coker – tells the entire history of a fictional country, Malagueta
  4. The Lost Colors of Chameleon by Mandla Langa –  a story about power struggle set on the fictitious island of Bangula in the Indian Ocean.  Winner of the 2009 Commonwealth Prize Best Book for the Africa Region
  5. The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna – a tale of postwar Sierra Leone
  6. Harare North by Brian Chikwava – a dark comedy in which the narrator is a die-hard Mugabe supporter who arrives in London seeking asylum
  7. The Hairdresser of Harare by Tendai Huchu- the protagonist is an ambitious, young, single mother, Vimbai, who battles with the difficulties of living in modern-day Harare while making a life for herself and her daughter.
  8. On Black Sisters’ Street by Chika Unigwe – looks at the lives of four African sex workers in Antwerp.
  9. African Roar edited by Emmanuel Sigauke & Ivor W. Hartmann – a short story anthology drawn from the very best stories published from 2007-2009, in the StoryTime weekly literary ezine dedicated to publishing African writers.
  10. Broken Glass by Alain Mabanckou –  about a derelict who drinks at a bar called Credit Gone West in the Trois-Cents district of the DR Congo.
  11. Bitter Leaf by Chioma Okereke –  about life, love and death in a mystical African village.
  12. The Consequences of Love by Sulaiman Addonia – set in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia about a political romance of an Eritrean refugee
  13. Paradise by Abdulrazak Gurnah – a coming of age novel. And I need to start reading Gurnah.
  14. By The Sea by Abdulrazak Gurnah –  about a Tanzanian elderly asylum seeker in Britain.
  15. The Book of Chameleons by Jose Eduardo Agualusa – more Lusophone African literature
  16. Every Man is a Race by Mia Couto –  same reason as above.
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25 comments

  1. Reading african literature gives us more insight and at thesame time enlighten us. I dont read much of them though, except when recommended. But i’ll pick up the pace now.

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    • Yes, do “pick up the pace”. That’s my intention when putting these lists together. So thanks for letting me know that it is working :). Enjoy your reading.

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    • It’s a real pity that Who Fears Death is not getting a lot of notice from the our blogosphere. maybe due to its fantasy/sci fi label?

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  2. I’ve read very little African literature but enjoyed Broken Glass very much. Your list reminded me that a Ben Okri book has been on, unread, my shelf for years…

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    • Thanks for commenting on my blog and also for the link to your review of Broken Glass. There are so many books that we overlook when scanning our shelves for what to read next!

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  3. There are so many African books I wouldn’t know where to start. Well, in fact I do! Your number one is also on my wishlist. I hope to get to it within the year. We’ll see how it goes. At the moment I feel overwhelmed by the books I already have. 🙂

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  4. I love making lists, but I have a hard time sticking to them! I feel that I can’t say anything about your choices, because these books are all unknown to me. But then, that is what I love about your blog (among other things) getting to know great (African) fiction.

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