This was a quick read and that is down to how well written The Ones with Purpose is. The prose is simple, the grammar is clean and uncomplicated. However, the themes that the book covers are anything but simple and uncomplicated. Anele, the protagonist, explores her family dynamics using Fikile’s (her elder sister) demise through breast cancer as a fulcrum. Fikile’s illness and subsequent death is the backdrop with which Anele explores her family and its failings.
This book was one of the 3 books in my 2019 reading list that were not read last year. Luckily, it got picked again this year and I decided to start the year with it.
As my folks in the village were saying Afa gbara aka la, my friends in faraway Greece were hugging each other with shouts of eftihismeno to neo etos. In every corner of the globe, it is a new year. The old is gone and the new is here, in some sort or the order. Best wishes are in order.
Weeks back, I had to rearrange my bookshelf and add a couple of annexes to the existing shelves. Seeing the number of books that needed to be shelved, my daughter compelled me to make a commitment to not buy any new book in 2020.
After agonizing for weeks over which books to pick out for my 2020 reading list, I settled on these. The picks were mostly random. I just tried to balance the number of fiction, non-fiction, memoir, football and faith-based books that I chose. The only deliberate choices were Disgrace and What Dementia Teaches Us About Love. I need to reread the former in preparation for reading Lacuna next year 🙈. The latter is a necessary read in view of a current family issue. The number of books chosen was completely random and as always, there were unchosen books I wish I had chosen. Hopefully, there is always another year ahead.
A happy new year and happy reading too !!
Alan Mabanckou has made a name for himself for his quirky but exceptional novels and Black Bazaar is no exception. On the surface, it is a dizzying combo of humour and linguistic effervescence that amounts to little more than the ramblings of a fashion-crazed Congolese migrant who is obsessed with female backsides and spends most of his time at Jips, the Afro-Cuban bar in Les Halles. When he is not drinking at Jips, he is struggling to ignore his racist neighbour called Mr Hippocratic who niggles him at every turn.
There are critics who say that irrespective of her highly impressive writing skills, that Buchi Emecheta’s works are thinly disguised polemics of pain and suffering of females. The validity of this argument is not relevant as long as the issues raised in her books are real, relevant and even prevalent in our world. The Family is a typical Buch Emecheta work and the protagonist is pummelled by the pains and evils of life for no other reason but simply for being a female.
At the core of it, the story is basically the history of a Jewish man (a hyperactive and talkative one) who was not much to look at, who went about from town to town proclaiming the arrival of a new kingdom intertwined with the embodiment and fulfilment of an ancient promise in the person of a certain Jesus. Irrespective of our liking or dislike of him, agreement or disagreement with his theology or even his belief system, it is indisputable that the man Paul of Tarsus is one of a handful of people from the ancient world whose words still have the capacity to leap off the page and confront us almost two thousand years later.
The Randomness of my reading list throws up a trend every now and again. This year, my reading list contained a bunch of exciting memoirs. How Can Man Die Better is at the top of the pile. The relevance of the subject and the expertise of the writer are wings on which this book soars.
Rape, incest and Murder. These three awful themes are covered in this Achmat Dangor’s novel – Bitter Fruit. The fruit is bitter but in eating it we experience the awfulness of the lives of its characters. Bitter Fruit is set during the last few months of Nelson Mandela’s government and centres around Silas Ali, an ANC stalwart currently a Justice Ministry staff seconded to the Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC). Silas who is the son of an Indian Muslim father and a European mother is married to Lydia, a Coloured nurse who was born and bred in the Kwa Zulu Natal province. Together they have a delicately handsome son called Mikey, who is troubled and somewhat oedipal.