A Reading List for @SorayaSpeaks

Twitter List

Of course, the list numbered 11 books instead of the 5-7 that @SorayaSpeaks requested.  She asked for “black authors”  so I recommended books from the Diaspora.  Some notes on the list:

I included two fiction authors from the French Caribbean – Maryse Conde from Guadeloupe and Patrick Chamoiseau from Martinique. I talk about Maryse Conde here and will do a “Best Five” of her books this year. I’ve said little, if anything, about Patrick Chamoiseau. He and Raphael Confiant, among others, are members of Creolite, a 25 year old movement focused on the art and culture of the French Caribbean.  Chamoiseau writes in what has been described as ‘Freole’ as in a mixture of French and Creole. Even in translation, the language in his two novels Solibo Magnificent and Texaco was like Fanti in oral tradition. (you know how when the written word touches us in ways that English can’t, we Africans call that ‘oral tradition’?). Reading the books were like that.

The correct title of Alejo Carpentier’s book is The Kingdom of this World and not The Kingdom of Heaven! And the Cuban Carpentier is not an Afro Latina. I cheated here. I blame CLR James and his superb non-fiction, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Overture and the San Domingo Revolution for my fixation on the Haitian Revolution anytime I think of Haiti. Hence the recommendation of Carpentier’s magical realist take on the revolution.

I told Keguro that it’s just like him to say he preferred Nella Larsen’s other novel, Quicksand, over Passing, her more famous book  He then replied that Helga Crane (lead character in Quicksand) was “impossible to like. So the book intrigues me.”

Add any or all of the books (including Quicksand) to your reading list if you are so inclined. You know you want to!

 

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