Archive for the ‘World Lit’ Category
Mama Kadie cautiously enters the central path of her village, not sure what to expect, pondering on what has remained and who is still there or has come back like she does now. After the traumas, losses and devastation of the war she experiences profound emotions as she walks barefoot on the local soil, smells the scents of the land and watches and listens for every sound in the bushes. What will life have in store for her? The opening pages of Ishmael Beah’s debut novel, Radiance of Tomorrow, are achingly beautiful; his voice gentle and affecting, his deep emotional connection palpable with what he describes so colourfully. Having experienced international acclaim with his memoir, A Long Way Gone, which recounts the story of a child soldier in Sierra Leone, with his new book he returns to his homeland, sharing with his readers the demanding and difficult path that the local people have to follow in their recovery from the brutal war and its many losses in life and livelihood.
THIRTY GIRLS by Susan Minot is a powerful novel that is based on a true story. It takes place in Kenya, Uganda and Sudan and is the story of the abduction of over one hundred girls from a convent school in Uganda. A nun by the name of Giulia travels to the site of the abductors, who call themselves the LRA, and negotiates for the release of all but thirty of the girls. Thus, the title of the book.
The above opening line pulled me immediately into Mia Couto’s novel, The Tuner of Silences; it raised questions for me from the beginning and these didn’t let me go until the end. Mwanito, the narrator, reflecting back on the early years of his life, recounts his experiences while living in the company of three men and his slightly older brother in a remote campside in a semi-desert. Couto, an award-winning Mozambican author, has written a novel that is part coming of age story, part family drama and part a kind of love story.
February 3, 2014
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: Biblioasis, Identity, love, Mia Couto, Mozambique Â· Posted in: Africa, Class - Race - Gender, Coming-of-Age, Family Matters, Neustadt Intl Prize, World Lit, y Award Winning Author
One of the aspects of this impressive debut by Anna Hope that makes me raise my hat is the effectiveness with which she handles its secondary thread. In italics interspersing the main story a page or two at a time, are little vignettes as British officials exhume the body of an unidentified soldier from the battlefields of Northern France, prepare it for a new coffin, and take it with due solemnity to its final resting place in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey. The vignettes, and the story that they enfold, span a five-day period leading up to November 11, 1920, the second anniversary of the Armistice. The First World War is over, but what has become of the survivors?
Leighton Gage, who spent a great deal of his time in Brazil, used his extensive knowledge of the country’s political, economic, and social climate to create an outstanding series of police procedurals. His latest, The Ways of Evil Men, published posthumously, opens with a heartbreaking scene. Anati, a member of the Awana tribe who live in the rainforest, goes hunting with his eight-year-old son, Raoni. When the two return to their village they discover that all thirty-nine members of their tribe are dead. Who killed these men, women, and children? Jade Calmon, an employee of the federal government’s National Indian Foundation, will not stop asking questions until she learns the truth. Since the local law enforcement authorities have no love for the Awana, Jade is forced to pull strings in order to bring in the big guns: Mario Silva, Chief Inspector of the Brazilian Federal Police, Arnaldo Nunes, Silva’s partner, and a support team that includes other agents and an assistant medical examiner.
This novel is told in the first person, from the point of view of Luca, a young primary school student living in Italy. His mother is 37 years old and has been profoundly depressed for years, talking little, moving slowly and feeling like her life has ebbed slowly out of her. Often she cries and Luca does not know how to console her. “When Mama has nightmares, she says it’s not possible even to sleep in peace in this world, and that’s what I think too. Other times she says the pills have stolen her dreams, that sleep is just an inky-black nothingness, and she wakes up confused and doesn’t know which way is up. Sometimes she makes coffee without putting in the water or else the coffee.”