25 April 2016
Wow, 2016 is not even halfway, yet it has seen the birth of many contemporary African novels. Since about 2010, Contemporary African Novels have been on the rise all over Africa. These novels are fresh, unique, innovative and written with new creative voices. Do not get me wrong, we all love Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Bessie Head, Buchi Emecheta etc. but in this era of social media, Brazilian hair, advanced technology, it is always awesome to see a novel that mirrors our reality, a novel that we can easily relate to. Thanks to writers like Chimamanda, Sefi Atta, Lola Soneyin, NoViolet Bulawayo, we are constantly being blessed with well written, creative and humorous novels that everyone despite your strata in the society, can relate to. Yes, some of these books have won numerous award, some have not, but they are simply amazing, if we do say so ourselves. they are:
– Written by Igoni Barett author of love is power and something like that, Blackass is a humorous one. Imagine you a black man, light skinned or not, waking up a white man. What would you do? This is what Furo Wariboko faces in this novel. In this book, Igoni Barett toys with psychological and physiological transformations. To an extent, it is a novel about decolonization. It also deals with social media, the difference between the social media personality and the real life personality. Blackass is all shades of cool.
– Taking us to the Northern Part of Nigeria in his 258 paged novel is Elnathan John’s Born on a Tuesday (Widely known as B.O.A.T) It is a compelling yet simply written story about Dantala. Told in Dantala’s naïve, searching voice, this astonishing debut explores the ways in which young men are seduced by religious fundamentalism and violence. It is at time humorous but still, it tackles the serious issues facing that part of Nigeria. We must warn you; this book is not poverty porn if that is what you think. It examines a reality, an important reality.
– Under the Udala trees by Chinelo Okparanta is a bold novel about love. If you’re looking for a novel that captures religion and homosexuality in Nigeria succinctly, this is the book for you. It describes loss, the Nigerian civil war and love with an easy flowing easy rhythm. Okparanta’s novel is one that would leave you speechless. It is poignant, emotionally rich and tackles serious human issues. You’re not going to want to drop this.
– Shortlisted for the Prix du Monde (Le Monde Literary Prize), 2014 and winner of the Etisalat Prize for Literature 2015, Tram 83 – the debut novel by Fiston Mwana Mujila from Congo which was translated from French to English by Roland Glasser captures the complexities of life in an African city in Central Africa. An energetic novel, we particularly enjoyed it for its language, rhythm and atmosphere as the novel takes place mostly in the club, named after the book Tram 83. We also liked how it is exotic and humorous. It is fast paced, chaotic and intricate. Tram 83 plunges the reader into the modern African gold rush as cynical as it is comic and colorfully exotic, using jazz rhythms to weave a tale of human relationships in a world that has become a global village.
– In the Maestro, the mathematician and the magician, three very different men struggle with thoughts of belonging, loss, identity and love as they attempt to find a place for themselves in Britain. The Magistrate tries to create new memories and roots, fusing a wandering exploration of Edinburgh with music. The Maestro, a depressed, quixotic character, sinks out of the real world into the fantastic world of literature. The Mathematician, full of youth, follows a carefree, hedonistic lifestyle, until their three universes collide. In this carefully crafted, multi-layered novel, Tendai Huchu, with his inimitable humor, reveals much about the Zimbabwe story as he draws the reader deep into the lives of the three main characters
Don’t have people tell you about these books, you’ll regret it, get them ASAP!!!