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Gods and Soldiers: The Penguin Anthology of Contemporary African Writing

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3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  103 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
A one-of-a-kind collection showcasing the energy of new African literature
Coming at a time when Africa and African writers are in the midst of a remarkable renaissance, "Gods and Soldiers" captures the vitality and urgency of African writing today. With stories from northern Arabic-speaking to southern Zulu-speaking writers, this collection conveys thirty different ways o
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ebook, 368 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Penguin Books (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Shamin Kisakye
Mar 29, 2015 Shamin Kisakye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great little introduction into the diverse writers of the content. Deffo, deffo recommend.

Well structured and balanced between well known writers like Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda and J.M Coetzee with fresh new writers, some of which published for the first time in this book. Every single story or essay reflects the complex fabrics that make up the African nation. Beautifully put together.

Oh and I particularly loved the essay by Mia Couto. I look forward to reading more of his work.
April Helms
Aug 12, 2012 April Helms rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Came across this while getting ready to move. We get all sorts of books due to the nature of the job. Many are duds, but sometimes we get a gem. I'd put this in the latter category. This is an anthology of contemporary African writing, ranging from short stories and essays to snippets from longer works. Works include both fiction and nonfiction. The quality varies but for the most part I found it enjoyable. There was only one story I found irritating; the author had a severe case of "run-on sent ...more
Eric
Aug 11, 2015 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What interested me the most is that I was drawn to certain regions with Western and Northern particularly drawing my interest

a good primer
James F
Feb 04, 2015 James F rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, african
An anthology of nonfiction, short stories, and chapters from novels, written in Africa mostly in the past fifteen or twenty years. This is the second and more recent such anthology I have read this year. It seems to me as if the nations of Africa are producing much of the most interesting work in contemporary literature. The essays were the most interesting, an old one by Chinua Achebe, one on "the Senghor complex", one on "the Politics of Reading", and one by Mia Couto on the value of multiple ...more
Diane
Nov 16, 2011 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating should say "really like it" - not past tense - because I think it's an excellent collection of stories, essays and excerpts from longer works but haven't read all of it. Not a chance it can begin to cover Africa, yet it offers vivid glimpses of the continent and contemporary life there that help to correct stereotypes both old and new. Having said that, I confess that I haven't read all the short stories since I can't seem to make myself like that form. Not even by author's I like in The ...more
Kevin Brown
Mar 11, 2015 Kevin Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a strong collection of writing (mainly fiction) from across Africa. The editor organizes the work by area, then has one nonfiction piece introduce each area's section. There are well-known names here, like Nadine Gordimer, Chimamanda Adichie, Chinua Achebe, J.M. Coetzee, and Ngugi wa Thiong'o, but my favorites were stories by Helon Habila, E.C. Osondu, and Aziz Chouaki, all of whom were new to me. If you're interested in a good overview of contemporary African fiction, this is a good pla ...more
Paula
Mar 07, 2012 Paula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent collection. I didn't love all the pieces equally, but appreciated the diversity of voices and the bits of insight into African experiences. A terrific introduction to a group of writers with varied and interesting literary approaches.
Sam
Jan 06, 2011 Sam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic collection of about 30 short stories from African authors all around the world. I definitely will return to this to search for the full titles by many of these amazing writers.
Jacob
Jan 20, 2015 Jacob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really interesting; pieces range from philosophical to literary, adventure to the mundanity of everyday life, funny to sad as hell. All around good read.
John
Feb 16, 2010 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Went straight to the last piece in the book by Ivan Vladislavic. I was not disappointed. Best short story I've read since Juan Villoro's "Coyote." Vladislavic has such a weird, but natural way of crafting narrative through objects and places, maps and neighborhoods. He is able to pick up on profound resonances found in simple things: garden walls, house paint and in this case a bench. Amazing.


Stories read:
Mohammed Neseehu Ali (Ghana): The manhood test
Binyavanga Wainaina (Kenya): from Discovering
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J.S. Graustein
While the writing in this book is powerful, I was really frustrated with the number of novel excerpts in it. I was hoping for more stand-alone short stories so that I could experience many complete stories while traveling from one region to the next within the pages. Instead, this was more of a "novel sampler." However if you've never read any writing from the African continent, this is a great introduction.
Gratia Ilibagiza
Very interesting.... A very vivid and new outlook to the African continent and its writers. Its taken me a long time (very long) to get through though. This is partly attributed to procrastination though.
Elmhogar
Aug 10, 2010 Elmhogar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great collection, added many more books to my wishlist...
Jeff
Jan 11, 2010 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Startlingly depressing and beautiful at the same time, there is more in this book than is assumed by it's small stature.
Abraham Moyo
wonderful writing from africa adding weight that indeed african writing is ready world attention.
Alia S
Oh, it's good. I just wasn't in the mood for heavy-duty Africa. Me and every other fat and happy resident of the industrialized world, I guess.
Jess
Aug 12, 2009 Jess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
Not every piece was a standout, of course, but this anthology introduced me to lots and lots of writers and places, which is exactly what it set out to do. (Hello, friends. Long time, no post.)
Luis Felipe
Jun 22, 2009 Luis Felipe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Impresionante. Realmente la literatura africana, junto con la del Indostán y Colombia, es lo mejor que hay hoy día (y, de éstas, prefiero la africana).
H
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Jun 20, 2010
Bishopr2
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Jul 28, 2009
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Rob Spillman is Editor and co-founder of Tin House, a sixteen-year-old bi-coastal (Brooklyn, New York and Portland, Oregon) literary magazine. He is the 2015 recipient of the PEN/Nora Magid Award for Editing as well as the 2015 VIDO Award from VIDA. Tin House is the recipient of the 2015 Firecracker Award for General Excellence and has been honored in Best American Stories, Best American Essays, B ...more
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