Thursday, 21 July 2016

REVIEW: HAPPINESS, LIKE WATER

Author: Chinelo Okparanta

Genre: Short Story/Anthology

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Year of Publication: 2013

Number of Pages: 196

SUMMARY
In these exquisite stories, Chinelo Okparanta introduces us to families burdened equally by the past and the future. Here, we meet a childless couple with very different desires, a college professor comforting a troubled student, a mother seeking refuge from an abusive husband, and a young woman waiting to join her lover abroad. High expectations consume them. Nigeria defines them.

'Her clear, elegant use of language and exploration of family life, migration and love are refreshing and distinctive.'- Diva

'Happiness is like water,' she says.'We're always trying to grab onto it, but it's always slipping between our fingers.' page 144

MY VERDICT
I'm obsessed with short stories now, even though they leave me aching for more. I love how they prompt me to conjour up crazy conclusions about what became of the characters. It's a bitter-sweet feeling being left with conclusions that aren't quite enough to you.

So Happiness, like Water....Hmmm an interesting read, really interesting with a title so opposite from it's content. The book is a collection of ten short stories: On Ohaeto Street, Wahala!, Fairness, Story,Story!, Runs Girl, America, Shelter, Grace, Designs and Tumours and Butterflies. Each story had completely different plots, but their characters had similar backgrounds (Most of them being Nigerian) I noticed Okparanta found a way of including Port Harcourt in almost every single story. I'm guessing it's because Port Harcourt is her birthplace, so it's only natural for her to feel connected to it.

In general, it gave me mixed feelings after each story and I love books that toy with my emotions (odd, yes i know). I awarded it four and a half stars, because although  it's a lovely debut with moving stories, I still felt like it didn't deserve all my stars.
You can purchase the book here .

PS: Check out my Favourite Quotes Page xx

Monday, 4 July 2016

REVIEW: WE NEED NEW NAMES

Author: NoViolet Bulawayo

Genre: African Literature/Fiction

My Rating: 4 Stars

Year of Publication: 2013

Number of Pages: 304

SUMMARY
Darling and her friends live in a shanty called Paradise- which of course is no such thing. It isn't all bad, though. There's mischief and adventure, games of Find bin Laden, stealing guavas, singing Lady Gaga at the tops of their voices.
They dream of the paradises of America, Dubai, Europe, where Madonna and Barack Obama and David Beckham live. For Darling, that dream will come true. But, like the thousands of people all over the world trying to forge new lives far from home, Darling finds this new paradise brings its own set of challenges- for her and also for those she's left behind.

MY VERDICT
I came across the first chapter of this book, which is titled 'Hitting Budapest', whilst reading the Caine African Prize for Writing 2011. Check out my review of that here. Initially I thought the story odd, because I was only reading one chapter of the whole book and I was completely lost. But I later discovered this book and now everything adds up.
I must say, I really enjoyed this book. The names of the characters, style of writing, the titles of the chapters and everything in general was brilliant. Chapter 16, 'How they lived', in my opinion was so raw and almost accurately depicted the average immigrant in diaspora.
The only problem I had was that I felt Bulawayo (the author) cramped too many events in just one book. There were so many events happening in just one book, and quite a lot of characters. Often times I had to pause while reading to try to recall, who a particular character was.  
I also didn't quite like how the book was concluded. I wanted to know what became of Darling and her counterparts. 
You can purchase the book here on Africareeds.

PS:Check out my favourite quotes page xx