Book Digest

Book Digest: Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse, Maurice Ruffin, Shubnum Khan, Pelu Awofeso

We wrap up book news for our readers in our regular Book Digest segment with books from Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse, Maurice Ruffin, Shubnum Khan, and Pelu Awofeso.

Culbuter Le Malheur by Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse

Publisher:  Mémoire d’encrier
Date:  February 5, 2024
Genre:  Nonfiction, Memoir
Language:  French
Where to find it:  Mémoire d’encrier;

Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse

Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse. Photo/Fondation Jan Michalski © Wiktoria Bosc
Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse. Photo/Fondation Jan Michalski © Wiktoria Bosc

Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse was born in Butare, Rwanda, in 1979. She arrived in France in 1994 after surviving the Tutsi genocide. His first novel, Tous tes enfants dispersés (Autrement, 2019; J’ai lu, 2021), received the Prix des cinq continents de la Francophonie, and Consolée, her second book (Autrement, 2022; J’ai lu, 2024), the Kourouma prize. She also published short stories, poetry and a children’s album. Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse lives in Bordeaux.

Culbuter Le Malheur

Culbuter Le Malheur by Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse
Culbuter Le Malheur by Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse

Culbuter le malheur, livre-phare marquant la commémoration des 30 ans du génocide des Tutsi au Rwanda (1994-2024). Un million de morts en trois mois. Des silences et des silences. Adolescente à l’époque, Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse a échappé au géno-cide. Elle offre dans ce double recueil les mots justes pour faire mémoire par une énonciation radicale de ce qui est un désir puissant de vivre à présent, au présent. L’autrice fait danser les mots-pagaille, les mots-bataille, entre ici et là-bas, entre hier et demain pour inventer un imaginaire décolonisé à offrir aux enfants du jour d’après.

The American Daughters By Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Publisher:  One World
Date:  February 27, 2024
Genre:  Fiction
Language:  English
Where to find it:  Penguin Random House

Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Maurice Carlos Ruffin
Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Maurice Carlos Ruffin is the author of The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You, which was longlisted for the Story Prize and was a finalist for the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, and We Cast a Shadow, which was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the PEN Open Book Award, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and International Dublin Literary Award. A recipient of an Iowa Review Award in fiction, he has been published in the Virginia Quarterly Review, AGNI, the Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas. A native of New Orleans, he is a graduate of the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop and a professor of creative writing at Louisiana State University.

The American Daughters

The American Daughters By Maurice Carlos Ruffin
The American Daughters By Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Ady, a curious, sharp-witted girl, and her fierce mother, Sanite, are inseparable. Enslaved to a businessman in the French Quarter of New Orleans, the pair spend their days dreaming of a loving future and reminiscing about their family’s rebellious and storied history. When mother and daughter are separated, Ady is left hopeless and directionless until she stumbles into the Mockingbird Inn and meets Lenore, a free Black woman with whom she becomes fast friends. Lenore invites Ady to join a clandestine society of spies called the Daughters. With the courage instilled in her by Sanite—and with help from these strong women—Ady learns how to put herself first. So begins her journey toward liberation and imagining a new future.

The American Daughters is a novel of hope and triumph that reminds us what is possible when a community bands together to fight for their freedom.

The Lost Love of Akbar Manzil by Shubnum Khan

Publisher:  Pan Macmillan South Africa
Date:  January 1, 2024
Genre:  Fiction
Language:  English
Where to find it:  Pan Macmillan South Africa;

Shubnum Khan

Shubnum Khan
Shubnum Khan

Shubnum Khan is a South African author and artist. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, The Sunday Times, Marie Claire and others. Her first novel, Onion Tears (2011) was shortlisted for the Penguin Prize for African Writing and the University of Johannesburg Debut Fiction Prize. Her essay collection, How I Accidentally Became a Stock Photo was published in South Africa and India with Pan Macmillan in 2021.

The Lost Love of Akbar Manzil

The Lost Love of Akbar Manzil by Shubnum Khan
The Lost Love of Akbar Manzil by Shubnum Khan

Sana and Meena will never meet. The two women share little beyond Akbar Manzil, the sprawling mansion they call home. When Meena fell in love with the owner of the house, it was the grandest residence on South Africa’s east coast near Durban. Eight decades later when Sana and her father move to the house, the latest of Akbar Manzil’s long list of tenants, it is in near-ruins, crumbling, shabby and dark. This is a place where people come to forget. Or to be forgotten.

Full of questions about her new home, Sana is drawn to the deserted east wing, home to a clutter of broken and abandoned objects – and to the locked door at its end, unopened for decades. Soon, Sana begins to discover the tangled, troubling history of the house, awakening the memories of the house itself and dredging up old and terrible secrets that will change the lives of everyone – living and dead – at Akbar Manzil.

Sublime, heart-wrenching and lyrically stunning, The Lost Love of Akbar Manzil is a haunting, a love story and a mystery, all twined beautifully into one young girl’s search for belonging.

Grow Where They Fall

Bright and precocious ten-year-old Kwame Akromah knows how to behave. He knows the importance of good manners, how to stay at the top of the class and out of the way when his mother and father are angry with each other. But when his charismatic cousin Yaw arrives from Ghana to live with the family while he looks for work, the rules Kwame has learned about the world can no longer guide him.

Twenty years later, Kwame is a secondary-school teacher, popular with his students and depended on by his friends. His is a life spent elegantly weaving between the classroom, the labyrinth of Grindr politics and increasingly intermittent visits to his parents’ home. Behind the confident façade, however, he is as driven by caution as he was as a boy.

But when electrifying changemaker Marcus Felix is appointed as headteacher, Kwame must reckon with himself as he never has before. Can he face the ghosts of his childhood? How will he learn to move through the world without losing who he is? And where does existing stop and living begin?

Grow Where They Fall is a beautifully written, spirited and deeply moving novel about a young man finding the courage to expand the limits of who he might become, from the acclaimed author of Hold.

One for the Road edited by Pelu Awofeso

Publisher:  Independent
Date:  February 14, 2024
Genre:  Nonfiction, Travel, Anthology
Language:  English
Where to find it:  Click here (Nigeria only).

Pelu Awofeso

Pelu Awofeso
Pelu Awofeso

Pelu Awofeso is a Nigerian journalist, travel and culture writer, based in Lagos, Nigeria. He is a winner of the CNN/Multichoice African Journalists Awards in the Tourism Category. He is often described as “Nigerian foremost travel writer.” He is also a published author.

One for the Road

One for the Road edited by Pelu Awofeso
One for the Road edited by Pelu Awofeso

The 24 stories in this one-of-a-kind anthology show what it feels like travelling in different parts of Nigeria — north, east, west and south. Whether it is exploring the ancient walls of Kano, observing the annual Osun-Osogbo Festival, travelling through historic Zungeru, spending a weekend in Obudu, or reflecting on a road trip to Ikot Abasi, the stories in this collection are as diverse as they are revealing of the subjects and places they are about.


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