Great African Reads discussion

37 views
Random African Travels Challenge > Orgeluse's 2021 Random African Travels Challenge

Comments Showing 1-19 of 19 (19 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Orgeluse (last edited Nov 09, 2021 12:39PM) (new)

Orgeluse | 425 comments For 2021 I have received the following five countries:

Egypt - female author in focus:


Nigeria - female author in focus: Irenosen Okojie
- short story collection Speak Gigantular
(finished Jan. 2021)
- debut novel Butterfly Fish
(currently reading)
- short story collection Nudibranch

Ethiopia - female author in focus:
Everything here by Lena Bezawork Grönlund


Angola - female author in focus:
- Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida:
That Hair, Luanda, Lisboa, Paraíso

South Africa - female poets in focus:
- poet Vangile Gantsho
Works: red cotton (finished Feb. 21), Undressing in front of the window
- poet Natalia Molebatsi
Works: Sardo Dance: Collection of Poems, Elephant Woman Song
- poet Thabile Makue
Works: ‘mamaseko
- poet Ashley Makue
Works: I Know How to Fix Myself
- poet Nkateko Masinga
Works: Psalm for Chrysanthemums


message 2: by Annette (new)

Annette S | 71 comments I just finished reading The Shadow King about Ethiopia and I loved it.


message 3: by Orgeluse (new)

Orgeluse | 425 comments Thank you for the recommendation! I have The Shadow King on my radar. I would like to make this challenge a little bit more difficult by trying to find titles that have only been published very recently (2019-2021). But if this should turn out to be too difficult, I will come back to Maaza Mengiste
As the year is still young I am quite confident to find new interesting titles :))!


message 4: by Annette (new)

Annette S | 71 comments The Shadow King was published in 2019


message 5: by Orgeluse (new)

Orgeluse | 425 comments Thanks a lot for reminding me! I mixed it up with Beneath the Lion's Gaze :)))


message 6: by Orgeluse (last edited Jan 17, 2021 08:29AM) (new)

Orgeluse | 425 comments I have just decided to have a "female author in focus" for each country, i.e. I intend to read the works of 5 different authors (one from each of the countries) in more detail. This could also mean I pick younger authors with a body of works that is still manageable :))

From the experience I have made so far I can truly say that I very much enjoyed working my way through the works of Henrietta Rose-Innes and Véronique Tadjo - it was insightful and rewarding!
At the moment I am infatuated with Irenosen Okojie, born in Nigeria and based in London...


message 7: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) | 459 comments Orgeluse wrote: "I have just decided to have a "female author in focus" for each country, i.e. I intend to read the works of 5 different authors (one from each of the countries) in more detail. This could also mean..."

Irenosen Okojie is new to me. Will take a look as it looks interesting.


message 8: by Orgeluse (new)

Orgeluse | 425 comments I am currently reading Butterfly Fish. It is set in today's London, in the London of the 1970s and in 19th century Benin/Nigeria, and it deals with the family history of Joy whose mental state is in turmoil after her mother's death. I am only 50 pages in, but like it a lot.


message 9: by Orgeluse (last edited Feb 09, 2021 10:48PM) (new)

Orgeluse | 425 comments I have finished Vangile Gantsho's poetry collection / poetry novella red cotton for the category South Africa which I decided will be "filled" with the works of South African female poets.
I am quite impressed by Vangile Gantsho's poetry as it is blunt and unapologetic. The collection is an exploration into what it means to be black, female and queer in today's South Africa.
I can highly recommend this collection as well as to watch Vangile Gantsho perform her poetry. There are some videos available on YouTube and there is a recent interview with her conducted by Emmah Mabye:
https://m.facebook.com/emmahmabye.sta...

I also found the following articles on her:
https://afrowomenpoetry.net/en/2020/1...
http://www.thejournalist.org.za/books...


message 10: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) | 459 comments I'm going to have to take a look at some of these poets that you have listed. Vangile Gantsho is an interesting person in that she is also a traditional healer.


message 11: by Orgeluse (new)

Orgeluse | 425 comments Carolien wrote: "I'm going to have to take a look at some of these poets that you have listed. Vangile Gantsho is an interesting person in that she is also a traditional healer."

Yes, I reckon this is why the publishing company she runs is named after the healing plant imp(h)epho :))


message 12: by Orgeluse (new)

Orgeluse | 425 comments I finished Speak Gigantular by Irenosen Okojie back in January and have come up with a short review:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 13: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) | 459 comments Orgeluse wrote: "I finished Speak Gigantular by Irenosen Okojie back in January and have come up with a short review:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show..."


I finally finished Nudibranch. She is incredibly imaginative, but very weird. I found I could cope with the stories in small doses and then find it interesting, but not a comfortable author at all.


message 14: by Orgeluse (new)

Orgeluse | 425 comments Carolien wrote: "Orgeluse wrote: "I finished Speak Gigantular by Irenosen Okojie back in January and have come up with a short review:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show......"


You have my admiration for finishing this collection!
To be honest, I started it some months ago and was put off by the "splatter and goar". It did not make any sense whatsoever to me, but maybe it is not her intention to make sense, but to unleash her imagination - and she definitely has a lot of that!!
So right now I have Nudibranch on hold and will give it another try as soon as I feel in the mood for it.

I am halfway through Butterfly Fish. It really started off promising as it links the stories of different family members at different periods in time (19th cent. Benin, Lagos in the 1950s, London in the 1970s and Modern London). Though the story centers around a Benin head (!), there is no "splatter and goar" here, but around 100 pages in, the editing becomes faulty (which is also commented on by one of the reviewers here on goodreads) which also put me off a bit, but I will definitely finish this one in the summer (July/August) and report back.

So far I like her short story collection Speak Gigantular best - most of the stories have a gothic touch to them but they were not as goary as the ones in Nudibranch :))


message 15: by Carolien (last edited May 29, 2021 11:57PM) (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) | 459 comments I know exactly what you mean about the blood thirsty nature of the stories! It took me 2 months and about one story a week to finish this one, because I could only cope with it in very small doses.

It does become less bloody in the second half which helps.


message 16: by Orgeluse (new)

Orgeluse | 425 comments Carolien wrote: "I know exactly what you mean about the blood thirsty nature of the stories! It took me 2 months and about one story a week to finish this one, because I could only cope with it in very small doses...."

Reading requires tactics :)))
I sometimes choose what to read next from a short story / essay collection by figuring out what chapter heading I am attracted to. This way I am working my way through Our Women on the Ground: Essays by Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World at the moment :)))


message 17: by Carolien (last edited May 30, 2021 12:24AM) (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) | 459 comments Reading requires tactics :)))

Exactly! I like to read challenging books, but I still want to enjoy it.

My daughter has karate twice a week for about an hour and I try to read difficult stuff in that time as it is only for a short time.


message 18: by Orgeluse (new)

Orgeluse | 425 comments Carolien wrote: "Reading requires tactics :)))

Exactly! I like to read challenging books, but I still want to enjoy it.

My daughter has karate twice a week for about an hour and I try to read difficult stuff in t..."


:)))))


message 19: by Orgeluse (new)

Orgeluse | 425 comments As the year is nearly over, it is time to take stocks with this challenge.
With the exception of Egypt I managed to read all the countries on my list.
I liked the idea of focussing on one particular author per country and think I will continue like this.
I dnf-ed That Hair for reasons I outlined in my TBR thread but would still be very interested in reading more of that author. Helas, at the moment her other novel is only available in Portuguese :((
As far as the poetry from South Africa is concerned I finished all of the given titles with the exception of Sardo Dance: Collection of Poems.
‘mamaseko is a very strong poetry collection that I can only recommend!
I will definitely take part in this challenge again should it be set up again next year.
Thanks very much, Diane, for moderating it!!


back to top