I’ve been so amazed and delighted about the contemporary writers who have been continuing the tradition of telling African and Caribbean stories and therefore keeping our histories alive. Any opportunity I get to recommend and shout about the many and varied books that are out there, I will do so. To kick off 2022, I decided to share my 5-star and 4-star rated books from Goodreads, that I read last year. So, below are my favorites!
What Storm, What Thunder
Academic scholar and an expert on Haitian culture, Myriam J. A. Chancy has written a powerful and heart-aching account of the January 2010 earthquake, from the perspective of 10 characters.
Pleasantview: A Novel in Stories
In this collection of interconnected short stories, Trinidadian author Celeste Mohammed masterfully explores both contemporary and timeless issues that plagues the village of Pleasantview.
Butter Honey Pig Bread
Nigerian author Francesca Ekwuyasi spins a tale of twin sisters eztranged by a traumatic event. But it’s even more intriguing being raised by a mother who is a obanje, someone who continuously is born and dies.
The Taste Of Sugar
Marisel Vera’s historical fiction novel, set in Puerto Rico in the 19th century, will take you through the tail end of the Spanish colonization of the island to the U.S. invasion after the Spanish-American war, that caused the destruction of Puerto Rico’s booming coffee economy.
Only Kei Miller can embed you in a valley that has seen its share of hardship and persecution. Augustown is a place of juxtapositions and poverty, but there are some whose faith will carry them to farther places.
Stay With Me
Emotionally jarring and culturally revealing, Ayòbámi Adébáyò’s narrative of a Nigerian couple facing infertility, will leave you undone. A truly heart-aching, yet important book on trust, family, and mental health.
So Long a Letter
A beautiful story told in a series of letters to a friend about the changes that a Muslim woman in Senegal is experiencing in her marriage and her country that’s going through political changes.
In the Palace of Flowers
Jamīla is an Abyssinian concubine living in the palace of the Shah in Tehran in this 19th century historical novel. She’s trapped between wanting her freedom from servitude and something more radically dangerous.
This new short story collection looks at everything from illegal immigration, mental illness, death, and survivor’s guilt from the January 2010 earthquake. Danticat’s work will always be an expansion of the Haitian experience.
No Longer at Ease
Obi Okonkwo is a small village boy who has made something of himself in Lagos, after obtaining a degree at the expense of his village council. But the burden of the expectations, the culture of Lagos, and his ideals about family, threaten to drown him.