Writings of the general word's body

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

New Reads

You can't get away from Barack Obama in this American election season. Asked for her favourite writers, Tsitsi Dangarembga (author of 'Nervous Conditions' & 'The Book of Not) lists Obama among. Read her interview in the new issue of Per Contra. Among the fiction fare in the edition is 'Through the Looking Glass', taken from Dangarembga's forthcoming novel, Bira. High jinks on the bus queue...

"But women!" Now it was a young man chuckling. “What is it with these women! Some of them just walk just like that! With everything in the open!" Some age mates of his standing nearby grinned. They slitted their eyes in speculation and let their observation, like a single gaze, meander over the young women. "Ah, they want to inflame us!" The speaker sighed, and continued with amused indignation. "Now, isn’t it known that when it’s like that it can’t be stopped! So what if we don't want to begin and be inflamed! And get a gaol sentence? We don't want! Now these hussies want to put us in gaol! People, isn’t that why! Isn't that what makes people stone them!

Also in the fiction is something from a forthcoming novel by another favourite writer of Dangarembga's, Sefi Atta. In Grief Mongers (from the novel 'Swallow', soon to be published by Farafina), a young woman comes to her overcrowded building and finds a drama of grieving unfolding. A young boy may have drowned in the septic tank...

The day my father’s body was found, I came home from school. A group of women were holding my mother down in her room. They were the women of her former esusu group. They saved money together and my mother had for a while been in charge of taking and keeping their contributions. "Your father is gone," one of them said, before I had a chance to walk into my mother’s room. She was my uncle’s wife called Sister Kunbi. I could tell she expected me to be sad and instead she made me furious. "I know," I said to her. "He has gone to Lagos." She seemed offended that I wasn’t crying. She reached for my shoulder. "This world is a marketplace," she said. "The other is home. Your father has gone home." "This is my father’s home," I said.
And don't miss Silver Leaves for Judah Jones by Vanessa Gebbie - newly unveiled winner of the Per Contra Annual Fiction Prize. Her collection of short stories, Words from a Glass Bubble, has just been published.


Per Contra's non fiction this time round focuses on the theme of 'Chaos, Terror and the Rise of the Police State' - and there are two pieces on the recent turmoil in Kenya.

No comments: