Mitten im Zentrum der angolanischen Hauptstadt Luanda steht das Maianga-Gebäude, ein heruntergekommenes Hochhaus, an einem riesigen Loch in der Außenwand zu erkennen. Im ersten Stock strömt pausenlos frisches Wasser aus maroden Leitungen. Es ist ein Ort der Magie, Treffpunkt der Hausbewohner, Straßenhändlerinnen, Journalisten, Tagediebe. Auf dem Dach wird ein illegales Kino betrieben, das bisweilen ganz ohne Leinwand auskommt.
A letter among her deceased ex-husband’s belongings rips open Theresa’s world. For years she has turned her back on Theo, a man who spent the last two decades of his life institutionalised, and on their shared past in a country where teenage boys were conscripted to fight on ‘the Border’ in a war that those back home knew little about. Least of all Theresa, who spent her days dreaming of discos and first kisses.
Willem Prins wanders the streets of Paris, disillusioned and glum. Once, he showed great promise as a South African writer of distinction, but years of disappointment have left their mark. Drowning himself in the Seine may well be the only option left to drive up his book sales. His reason for being in Paris – the French translation of an erotic novel he wrote under a pseudonym – is not exactly something to be proud of. He is no stranger to Paris. An ex-wife of his (one of three) lives in the city with his eldest son, a young man who barely knows his father.
In “This Mournable Body”, Tsitsi Dangarembga returns to the protagonist of her acclaimed first novel, “Nervous Conditions”, to examine how the hope and potential of a young girl and a fledgling nation can sour over time and become a bitter and floundering struggle for survival. Anxious about her prospects after leaving a stagnant job, Tambudzai finds herself living in a run-down youth hostel in downtown Harare. For reasons that include her grim financial prospects and her age, she moves to a widow’s boarding house and eventually finds work as a biology teacher.
Meet Adunni, a teenage girl born into a rural Nigerian village. Aged fourteen, she is a commodity, a wife, a servant. She is also smart, funny, curious, with a spirit and joy infectious to those around her. And despite her situation going from bad to worse, she has a plan to escape: she will find her 'louding voice' and get her education, so that she can speak up for herself - and all the girls who came before her.
As a child Gifty would ask her parents to tell the story of their journey from Ghana to Alabama, seeking escape in myths of heroism and romance. When her father and brother succumb to the hard reality of immigrant life in the American South, their family of four becomes two - and the life Gifty dreamed of slips away.
Published in 2016 by Éditions Grasset & Fasquelle Gaël Faye’s debut novel titled Petit pays was shortlisted for the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens and received the FNAC literary award. Translated into 35 languages it was published as Small Country in English in 2018. Even though the story is not autobiographical it is inspired by the author’s life experiences as Faye fled Burundi with his family when he was 13.
Maya grows up in Germany knowing that her parents are different: from one another, and from the rest of the world. Her reserved, studious father is distant; and her beautiful, volatile mother is a whirlwind, with a penchant for lavish shopping sprees and a mesmerising power for spinning stories of the family's former glory - of what was had, and what was lost.