The books mentioned (and their worthy authors) are only are fraction of the books written by/regarding certain regions of Africa. In fact, with the number of books that go under this group, you may not find some of the aforementioned novels easily. But some of the authors are pretty popular. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Ngugi wa Thiong’o, for instance.
So today, we will consider some of the more popular novels of Africa. And, because I am awesome, I will include a few links to lists with more books, and sites you can trust to provide African novels that suit your taste. I got my information from a number of sources which I may or may not mention later on, and I picked those books that managed to win my estimable approval. So get ready to get smacked in the face with awesome reads!
Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe (1958):
This is definitely one of the African classics, in my opinion. Get ready for a Modern Greek tragedy (yes fans of that genre will be thoroughly satisfied with this story!) though the gods here are African. In Nigeria, at the turn of the 19th century, a flawed hero finds himself at odds with the rapidly changing world.
Broken glass – Alain Mabanckou:
An urban novel written in the heart of Africa (a statement mainly used to refer to Congo), our narrator sits on a stool in a bar called Credit Gone West and scribbles the stories of the convicts, conmen, cuckolds and the dispossessed who drink beside him. All the while, he nurses his own secret heartbreak, disappointment and thwarted ambition. Mabanckou is one of the continent’s greatest writers and he’s getting better with each book (Yes that means if you find yourself a hardcore fan of Mabanckou after reading this book, you will not be frustrated).
Children of Gebelawi – Naguib Mahfouz (1981):
Originally serialized in a Cairo newspaper (sounds familiar to Arthur Conan Doyle’s fans, doesn’t it?), Children of Gebelawi is an allegory for the religious history of the Jews, the Muslims and the Christians set in an alleyway in Cairo. It earned Mahfouz the Nobel Prize and an assassination attempt.
In the Country of Men – Hisham Matar (2006):
Many of you who were interested in African politics (and even those who were not and were just interested in world news) would have heard of Gaddaffi – former Libyan president.as a result. Some of you might have asked yourselves, “What was it like living under his regime?” Well, this book will provide you with a beautiful description of growing up in such conditions by nine-year-old Sulaiman who tries to make sense of a life where his father is a dissident and his mother on drugs. Meanwhile, the police are closing in…
The Memory of Love – Aminatta Forna (2010):
In this novel, we are taken to Freetown in peacetime – in 1969 and the present day. An English psychologist, Adrian Lockheart, hears the confessions of a dying man, Elias Cole. What unfolds is an unforgettable love story, a tale of complicity, betrayal and trauma that perhaps does more to tell us about this bitter conflict – and to make that telling stick – than any work of non-fiction can.
These, obviously, are not all the published books of Africa. But, at least I have given you a starting point. Would I not be justified in saying that all of you readers have found something to satisfy your tastes?
AFRICAN NOVELS REVIEWS