Aminatta Forna tackles trauma, although not in the way that most western readers are used to dealing with trauma’s effects.   Her previous book, Happiness, brings a different explanation to how different cultures deal with trauma.  The problem, rather than the trauma itself, is societal expectations of trauma.  Those who expect a trauma-free life as …

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There is little historical fiction addressing any genocide in Africa, but genocides took place.   There are even fewer books about what comes after a genocide in Africa.   While The Scattering by Lauri Kubuitsile addresses  the genocide of the Herero in what is now Namibia, it also delves into the after – and what …

  • February 24, 2021
  • Comments Off on After the Genocide: A Book Review of The Scattering by Lauri Kubuitsile

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Ghana Must Go was a historical event.  But Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi is the story of a family. The two share many similarities, not the least of which is that the historical event, the effects of the 1983 expulsion of Ghanaians from Nigeria on the father in this story.  Both the event and …

  • February 5, 2021
  • Comments Off on Ghana Must Go – A Review and Some History

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The events of this novel draw on the infinite well of human memory, whose treasures may be brought to the surface in any period, including our own.  In view of this, any resemblance between the characters and circumstances of this tale and real people and events is inevitable. –Ismail Kadare Published first in 2003 (in …

  • January 22, 2021
  • Comments Off on Book Review: The Successor

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The separate yet intertwined conflicts of 1956, in Hungary and Egypt, changed the presentation and path of the Cold War.  Most stunning among the changes and yet one of the least mentioned outside scholarly works is that Great Britain began the month of October 1956 as one of the great powers at the center of …

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First published in 1930, Mhudi was finished in 1920.  The author, Sol Plaatje had trouble finding a publisher, and so the manuscript languished for a decade. Mhudi was a groundbreaking novel, approaching history from an Afro-Centric view rather than the more common European view. It was a radically different approach for the time, showing the …

  • October 16, 2020
  • History
  • Comments Off on The First African Novel in English

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In 2018, just under half of the world’s new HIV infections, 800,000, appeared in South and Eastern Africa.  There are some bright spots – currently 85% of people living with HIV in these areas are now aware of their status.  Thanks to a sustained world effort and the United States PEPFAR program, 79% of those …

  • August 31, 2020
  • Reading
  • Comments Off on A Story About The Story of a Plague

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Vampires are from Serbia. They aren’t attractive, either. The question is – are vampires real? That is the question addressed in Kiss of the Butterfly by James Lyon. With the action taking place back and forth between centuries, the story follows grad student Stephen Roberts as he researches ancient folklore in a war-ravaged former Yugoslavia. …

  • May 8, 2020
  • Culture , Folklore
  • Comments Off on Kiss of the Butterfly – a Review

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Opobo women and children in Nigeria in the late nineteenth century The central theme of The Icarus Girl, by Helen Oyeyemi, seems to western readers to be supernatural. TillyTilly is real, or she is not. There is no in-between. Eight-year-old Jessamy has developed mental issues.   But to readers familiar with the dual worlds of the …

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