Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

ABSOLUTION by Patrick Flanery

Patrick Flanery’s debut novel is a very interesting example of an overarching story that incorporates another “novel” or “memoir,” a journal and more embedded inside it. Set in post-apartheid South Africa Absolution is a thought provoking book, and engaging; not necessarily, or least of all, in the sense one would initially expect.

November 30, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Africa, Debut Novel, World Lit


I was in my late thirties when the poet Arthur Rimbaud first crossed my horizon. It was Jim Harrison, the American writer, who brought him to my attention. In his memoir OFF TO THE SIDE, Harrison writes, “I think that I was nineteen when Rimbaud’s ‘Everything we are taught is false’ became my modus operandi.” Harrison continues, “…Rimbaud’s defiance of society was vaguely criminal and at nineteen you try to determine what you are by what you are against.” I admire Harrison a great deal. If he liked Rimbaud, if Rimbaud was the man, then I needed to know more.

October 13, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Africa, Facing History, France

MAKEDA by Randall Robinson

MAKEDA is the title character of Randall Robinson’s astounding, thought provoking, and highly engaging novel. A blind retired “laundress,” Makeda’s life is anchored in her tiny, often sun-filled, parlour in Richmond, Virginia. Her modest circumstances, after a life of hardship, stand in stark contrast to her appearance and demeanor: at home, at church and in the market, she is usually clad in richly embroidered beautiful African gowns and she radiates wisdom and emotional strength, instilling respect wherever she goes. Some unknown visitors leave gifts for her, or speak to her as if she were somebody else…

September 11, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Africa, Coming-of-Age, Family Matters, Literary, US South

CHIKE AND THE RIVER by Chinua Achebe

Chike is Chinua Achebe’s young hero in this gentle, touching story of an eleven-year-old Nigerian boy who has to leave his village in order to continue his schooling in the big city on the shores of the mighty Niger River. It is a charming tale about finding your way in a totally new environment and learning some important life lessons about loyalty, honesty, courage and the strength and limits of dreams.

August 22, 2011 · Judi Clark · 2 Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Africa, World Lit

THE ECHO CHAMBER by Luke Williams

Evie Steppman’s mammoth ears are a repository of history, memory, and time. She was born unnamed to British parents in Lagos, Nigeria, during the end of British colonial rule (1946), and, now in her fifties, she is chronicling her story and the stories of various individuals from a collection of documents, letters, diaries, pamphlets, photographs, and assorted, emotionally powerful objects, or “unica” (one-of-a-kind objects).

August 16, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Africa, Character Driven, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Facing History, World Lit


Eternity is an unusual young woman and an effervescent storyteller. She shares her life story in short, action-packed episodes that are embedded in evocations of colourful West-African ambience, and, underlying these, insights into societal and political upheaval in the fictional West Cassavaland, realistically set in that part of Africa. Adopted at birth and raised by two white scientists, Stevedore and Juliet Frankenheimer, she symbolizes a self-confident, stunning beauty – “pitch black and shimmering like the purple outer space of the universe.” However, she carries a secret that, once she is aware of it, will fundamentally influence the course of her life.

July 24, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Africa, Class - Race - Gender, World Lit