Sleepwalking Land by Mia Couto1 blends two stories of seeking for one’s identity in the midst of war-torn Mozambique. In the first, an old man and a young orphaned boy have fled a refugee camp and seek shelter in a burned-out bus on the side of the road. Near a corpse, they find a set

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Today begins the Second Annual Ghanian Literature Week, as celebrated by book bloggers around the globe. Kinna Reads is the central organizer of the occasion; see her introductory post. Changes by Ama Ata Aidoo (1991) is about a Ghanian woman searching for her place in a modern world that is steeped in traditional culture. Esi

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Although I don’t think her debut novel is necessarily as polished as her later novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie stunned me with her perfectly crafted story in Purple Hibiscus (published 2003). It’s full of symbolism, but the touching story of a girl coming to terms with life in general (her abusive

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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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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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In 1948, hundreds of Segenalese railway workers along the main rail line left work in a strike against the French colonist’s repression of the native’s way of life and status as employees of the railway. In God’s Bits of Wood, Sembene Ousmane tells their story. Ousmane’s writing was impressive. Although I’ve never been to Senegal,

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