Book Reviews

Dunia Yao. Utopia/Dystopia in Swahili Fiction – Clarissa Vierke and Katharina Greven (Eds.) | A Review by Anja Oed

Recent years have seen a renewed scholarly interest in utopian and/or dystopian literary writing more generally. With regard to postcolonial and, most specifically, African literature, Keith Booker was one of the first to comment on the fact that “while “[p]ostcolonial writers, actively engaged in the construction of cultural identities for their new societies, often include […]

The Woman Next Door – Yewande Omotoso | A Review by Katharine Geldenhuys

The Woman Next Door is Yewande Omotoso’s second novel. It follows five years after Bom Boy, for which she won the South African Literary Award for a First-time Published Author, as well as being short-listed for the South African Sunday Times Fiction Prize. The launch for The Woman Next Door took place on a chilly […]

Little Suns – Zakes Mda | A Review by Elke Seghers

There were others before him. But we start with Malangana because that is where our story begins. (p.7) The South African novelist, poet and playwright Zakes Mda, author of critically acclaimed novels like Ways of Dying and Heart of Redness, has published his tenth novel. Little Suns starts in the fashion of the oral storytelling […]

Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest – Ruth Finnegan | A Review by Sola Adeyemi

Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest by Ruth Finnegan is an unusual romance novel, the first of that kind I am going to come across in a long while. It is a poetic riddle that expresses the journey of a girl, Kate in search of lost love. The novel is set in the dream world, […]

Beneath the Black Sun of Cabinda – Virginie Mouanda Kibinde | A Review by Inge Brinkman

This is a translation of Virginie Mouanda Kibinde’s first novel, originally entitled Les âmes de la forêt (Souls of the forest, 2002). In a second edition of 2004 the book was renamed Au soleil noir du Cabinda. In the introduction, the translator, Vanessa Everson explains that this modification of the title frames the novel more […]

Travel Literature on the African Continent in the 19th Century: Analysis of the various Influences on ‘Heart of Darkness’ and ‘Travels in West Africa’ – Sabine Brandstätter | A Review by Inge Brinkman

This small book concerns the author’s MA-thesis from Graz University (Austria). It discusses travel writing, with Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (1899) and Mary Kingsley’s Travels in West Africa (1897) as examples. The aim is to show how travel literature was shaped by contextual influences as well as personal experiences, and how it in turn […]

Die mond vol vuur. Beskouings oor die werk van Breyten Breytenbach – Louise Viljoen | A Review by Martina Vitackova

The South African poet, essayist, freedom fighter and painter Breyten Breytenbach hardly needs any introduction since he is perhaps the best-known Afrikaans poet in the world. Neither does Afrikaans literary scholar Louise Viljoen, who recently published a monograph of twelve essays on Breytenbach’s literary work – Die mond vol vuur. Beskouings oor die werk van […]

Mrs. Shaw – Mukoma wa Ngugi | A Review by Gilbert Braspenning

Truth, lies, betrayal and (lost) loyalties in Mukoma wa Ngugi’s ‘Mrs. Shaw’ The Story Kalumba flees his home country, the fictional Kwatee Republic, and as an exile more or less builds up a new life in America. However, the story of an elderly British lady, Mrs. Shaw, confronts him hard with his own and his […]

Anthologie des poèmes d’amour des Afriques et d’ailleurs – Thierry Sinda | Une critique de Michèle Boin

Selon les termes de Thierry Sinda, cette anthologie est celle des neuf années d’un festival poétique qui a sa place au sein à la fois de la littérature francophone et du mouvement de la négritude. Ce volume rassemble en effet un choix de poèmes sur le thème de l’amour parmi les œuvres, éditées ou inédites, […]

Representing Multiculturalism in Comics and Graphic Novels – Carolene Ayaka and Ian Hague (Eds.) | A Review by Sara Oelrich Church

Understood as a visual medium that often combines imagery with text, usually in a sequential manner, comics are an art form perfectly predisposed towards conveying complex narrative structures.  Comics employ a wide variety of formats ranging from single panel editorial cartoons, to multi-panel comic strips, to comic book series, to Japanese manga and graphic novels, […]