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Re-kindling my love with African fiction

April 12, 2012

Perhaps it was the punitive schedule of the past year: working full-time, studying for a degree in Law, keeping house; and as if such a schedule was not punitive enough, I decided to get a cat.  Only trust me to choose the very traumatised cat at the rescue centre.  BTW, very traumatised cat has turned out to be an adorable cutie, albeit after many months of TLC.

So as expected, such a schedule did not provide me with much time to read; reading for pleasure that is.  When I finished my course in September, I decided not to look at another Law book or any non-fiction book for that matter (unless a very good one of course) for a little while.  The same rule applied to magazines.

And so I was left with fiction.  I only started reading magazines when I first came to England anyway.  I’d always devoured books when I was living in the Ivory Coast.  So who was this woman who no longer read novels, who could not always find a novel that gripped her and who’s started living on a diet of magazines?

Amazon came to the rescue; my debit card took a hammering but the hammering caused me to fall in love again.  I read Classics like Things fall apart by Chinua Achebe, this time in English and I came to finally understand the desperation that brought about Okonkwo’s suicide; this loss of culture and way of living which I could never understand as an 11-year old trawling through my father’s library and reading whatever I found.

I discovered new authors like Alain Mabanckou with his wonderful portrayal of that other spiritual world in Memoires de Porc-Epic and which made me think of that poem Souffles by Birago Diop, with its memorable line: Les morts ne sont pas morts – the dead are not dead.

And every time I added a book to my wishlist, another book was recommended me.  I decided to create my very own library.  The husband groaned.

“Aren’t we being buried under enough books already?”

“No!” I would answer.  “Besides, a house without books is a soulless house.”

“So that’s why we need to have them under the sofa, on the bedroom floor, wedged between the kettle and the bread bin?”

“Just think “soul”, husband.  Think soul.”

I bought some of the books blind; blind in the sense that nobody had reviewed them; hence this blog.  To review this wonderful literature, to share my love for it, to get a conversation going: what type of conversation?  I have no idea.


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  1. “soul… husband… soul”….snigger x

  2. I absolutely love African literature so I can’t wait to see what wonderful works you uncover.

    • Totally agree with you – there is such a richness, isn’t there? I am re-reading some Francophone Lit at the moment and being recommended some more. I think we are just uncovering the vastness of it. But I don’t mind – wish I could spend my days reading, LOL

  3. There is! I am discovering new things on a daily basis and like you I wish I had more time to explore it all.

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