At nearly 800 pages, The Fate of Africa by Martin Meredith is overwhelming in scope. Subtitled A History of Fifty Years of Independence, the book attempts to capture the histories of all the countries on the African continent. Yet, such an ambitious subject cannot adequately be captured in less than 800 pages: each country has

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Yesterday you were divorced. Today I am a widow. (page 1) So begins So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba (first published 1980, translated from the French by Modupé Bodé-Thomas), the personal (fictional) diary of the Senegalese woman Ramatoulaye, written as an extended letter to her best friend Aissatou, who has long lived in the

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I have so struggled to put Maru (by Bessie Head, published 1971) into context that I even reread the short novel (130 pages) before I attempted to write my thoughts. My second read solidified my perception that Maru is a type of warped fairy tale, one especially with no happily ever after. Although the prince-like

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Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (published 2006) tells the story of the Nigerian Civil War, when the minority, repressed Igbos in Southeastern Nigeria established the independent republic of Biafra. My understanding of the war comes from my reading of the novel, but I did also reference Wikipedia. (Adichie mentions in an

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According to the tradition of the Dinka, the people who live in southern Sudan, after God created the world and the first man (a Dinka), he gave the first man a choice. “You can have either these cattle, as my gift to you, or you can have the What,” he said. The Dinka chose the

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Last year, I read Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin, and I really enjoyed it. I suggested it to my book club, and I was delighted it when it was selected as this month’s read! I reread it last week and searched for some discussion questions online. To my surprise, I couldn’t find any!

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The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta (1979) is about Nigerian tradition versus a modern and Western lifestyle, but it’s also about a woman coming to terms with her role as woman and a mother. I found myself viewing the main character, Nnu Ego, with conflicting emotions throughout the novel. From a modern, feminist perspective,

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