Book Digest

Book Digest: Namina Forna, Christina Cooke, Mazi Nwonwu, Achille Mbembe

We wrap up book news for our readers in our regular Book Digest segment with books from Namina Forna, Christina Cooke, Mazi Nwonwu, and Achille Mbembe.

The Eternal Ones by Namina Forna

Publisher:  Delacorte Press
Date:  February 13, 2024
Genre:  Fiction, Young Adult
Language:  English
Where to find it:  Penguin Random House

Namina Forna

Namina Forna
Namina Forna

Namina Forna is the New York Times bestselling author of the Gilded Ones series. She’s been published in over 24 different countries and also works in film and television. She loves telling stories with fierce female leads and now lives in London, where she spends all her time trying to stay warm.

The Eternal Ones

The Eternal Ones by Namina Forna

The dazzling finale to the groundbreaking, New York Times bestselling Gilded Ones series. One girl holds the power to defeat the gods—but can she become one?

Mere weeks after confronting the Gilded Ones—the false beings she once believed to be her family—Deka is on the hunt. In order to kill the gods, whose ravenous competition for power is bleeding Otera dry, she must uncover the source of her divinity. But with her mortal body on the verge of ruin, Deka is running out of time—to save herself and an empire that’s tearing itself apart at its seams.

When Deka’s search leads her and her friends to the edge of the world as they know it, they discover an astonishing new realm, one which holds the key to Deka’s past. Yet it also illuminates a devastating decision she must soon make…

Choose to be reborn as a god, losing everyone she loves in the process. Or bring about the end of the world.

Broughtupsy by Christina Cooke

Publisher:  Catapult
Date:  January 23, 2024
Genre:  Fiction
Language:  English
Where to find it:  Penguin Random House, Amazon

Christina Cooke

Christina Cooke
Christina Cooke

Christina Cooke’s writing has previously appeared in The Caribbean Writer, Prairie Schooner, PRISM international, Epiphany: A Literary Journal, and elsewhere. A MacDowell Fellow, Journey Prize winner, and Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award winner, she holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of New Brunswick and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Born in Jamaica, Christina is now a Canadian citizen who lives and writes in New York City.

Broughtupsy

Broughtupsy by Christina Cooke

At once cinematic yet intimate, Broughtupsy is an enthralling debut novel about a young Jamaican woman grappling with grief as she discovers her family, her home, is always just out of reach.

Tired of not having a place to land, twenty-year-old Akúa flies from Canada to her native Jamaica to reconnect with her estranged sister Tamika. Their younger brother Bryson has recently passed from sickle cell anemia—the same disease that took their mother ten years prior—and Akúa carries his remains in a small wooden box with the hope of reassembling her family.

Over the span of two fateful weeks, Akúa and Tamika visit significant places from their childhood, but time spent with her sister only clarifies how different they are, and how years of living abroad have distanced Akúa from her home culture. “Am I Jamaican?” she asks herself again and again. Beneath these haunting doubts lie anger and resentment at being abandoned by her own blood. “Why didn’t you stay with me?” she wants to ask Tamika.

Wandering through Kingston with her brother’s ashes in tow, Akúa meets Jayda, a brash stripper who shows her a different side of the city. As the two grow closer, Akúa confronts the difficult reality of being gay in a deeply religious family, and what being a gay woman in Jamaica actually means.

By turns diasporic family saga, bildungsroman, and terse sexual awakening, Broughtupsy is a profoundly moving debut novel that asks: what do we truly owe our family, and what are we willing to do to savor the feeling of home?

How to Make a Space Masquerade and Other Speculative Stories by Mazi Nwonwu

Publisher:  Narrative Landscape
Date:  February 15, 2024
Genre:  Speculative Fiction
Language:  English
Where to find it:  Narrative Landscape

Mazi Nwonwu

Mazi Nwonwu
Mazi Nwonwu

Mazi Nwonwu is the pen name of Chiagozie Nwonwu, a Lagos-based journalist and writer. While journalism and its demands take up much of his time, when he can, Mazi Nwonwu writes speculative fiction, which he believes is a vehicle through which he can transport Africa’s diverse culture to the future. He is the co-founder of Omenana, an African-centrist speculative fiction magazine is a Senior Broadcast Journalist with BBC Igbo service. His work has appeared in Lagos 2060 (Nigeria’s first science fiction anthology), AfroSF (first PAN-African Science Fiction Anthology), Sentinel Nigeria, Saraba Magazine, ‘It Wasn’t Exactly Love’, an anthology on sex and sexuality published by Farafina in 2015.

How to Make a Space Masquerade and Other Speculative Stories

How to Make a Space Masquerade and Other Speculative Stories by Mazi Nwonwu

How to Make a Space Masquerade artfully blends speculative fiction with Igbo cosmology, seamlessly merging the earthly realm with a dystopian world. It explores the complexities of the human spirit and the intersection of the two worlds. A girl facing erasure for carrying a virus defies the government to save her life through a trial cure. A space engineer must explain the existence of his human love child resulting from a one- night stand with a robot. The twelve stories in this collection stretch the imagination and demand a review of our notions of self-discovery, human connection, and traditions.

Brutalism by Achille Mbembe

Publisher:  Duke University Press Books
Date:  January 9, 2024
Genre:  Nonfiction
Language:  English
Where to find it:  Duke University Press Books, Amazon

Achille Mbembe

Achille Mbembe
Achille Mbembe

Achille Mbembe is Research Professor in History and Politics at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He is the author of Necropolitics and Critique of Black Reason and co-editor of Johannesburg: The Elusive Metropolis, all also published by Duke University Press.

Brutalism

Brutalism by Achille Mbembe

In Brutalism, eminent social and critical theorist Achille Mbembe invokes the architectural aesthetic of brutalism to describe our moment, caught up in the pathos of demolition and production on a planetary scale. Just as brutalist architecture creates an affect of overwhelming weight and destruction, Mbembe contends that contemporary capitalism crushes and dominates all spheres of existence. In our digital, technologically focused era, capitalism has produced a becoming-artificial of humanity and the becoming-human of machines. This blurring of the natural and artificial presents a planetary existential threat in which contemporary society’s goal is to precipitate the mutation of the human species into a condition that is at once plastic and synthetic. Mbembe argues that Afro-diasporic thought presents the only solution for breaking the totalizing logic of contemporary capitalism: repairing that which is broken, developing a new planetary consciousness, and reforming a community of humans in solidarity with all living things.


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