The Stray Bulletin

Arts and culture in East Africa and beyond

The Thing Around Your Neck November 27, 2009

Filed under: Book reviews — Sophie Alal @ 11:54 am
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The short story is making a comeback. Publishers have recently taken to giving them the status once accorded to novels, and Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi who is best known for her novels “Purple Hibiscus” and “Half of a Yellow Sun”, returns with an anthology of short fiction, The “Thing Around Your Neck”, published by Fourth Estate.

Miss Ngozi moved to the United States at the age of 19 and is still spiritually close to Nigeria with its murkiness and dangerous turns of fortune. Her twelve short stories hold a suspended state of curiosity and repression as most of the characters are dissatisfied, unhappy and frustrated regardless of their economic status. In Nigeria outbreaks of violence, palpable crime and macabre rituals are propped up by the added appeal of carjacking, pugnacious policemen and youth involved in cults. (more…)


Terrible things can happen

Filed under: Book reviews — Sophie Alal @ 11:04 am
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Review by Sophie Alal of the novel The Year Of Numbers

Published in The East African on June 8th, 2009.

There are some things that the Lonely Planet guide to Egypt does not prepare the traveller for, such as Cairo’s underbelly of refugees and illegal immigrants. The Year of Numbers follows Genevieve, a young Canadian documenting the stories of Dafurian refugees, as she struggles with her love for Alpha, a Sierra Leonean Muslim of mixed descent.

Writers of contemporary African fiction have drawn from the deep pool of Africa’s unending humanitarian crises even though there are not enough words to catalogue human suffering. This book which was written by Paulina Wyrzykowski, a human rights and refugee lawyer based in Kampala, is a tribute to the African refugees she worked with in Cairo. (more…)