Both intimate and sweeping in scale, this is a story of ordinary lives battered and shaped by extraordinary times. Over four decades — in Russia, the Middle East, Africa and Asia — he has established himself as a voice of wit, close observation, and sane good sense. His new book will be welcomed by everyone who cares about good writing, and about the human stories that enable us to understand the great movements of world history.
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Good luck to me. So begins this extraordinary book, a collection of diary pieces that Jan Morris wrote for the Financial Times over the course of A former soldier and journalist, and one of the great chroniclers of the world for over half a century, she writes here in her characteristically intimate voice — funny, perceptive, wise, touching, wicked, scabrous, and above all, kind — about her thoughts on the world, and her own place in it as she turns ninety.
How do you become A Writer? Read this book. It has been condemned in the Councils of God, rejected by every nation on the planet and is no longer believed in by the people who gave it birth. This is what Bishop Peter Storey preached in In his own words, Storey shares his convictions that inspired him to speak out and minister fearlessly amid the teargas, violence and intimidation of the apartheid regime.
After exploring more than twenty other African nations using only public transport, Sihle Khumalo this time roams within the borders of his own country. The familiarity of his own car is a luxury, but what he finds on his journey through South Africa ranges from the puzzling to the downright bizarre. Khumalo is out to investigate the state of the nation, from its highest successes to its most depressing failures.
We are living through the greatest communication revolution since Gutenberg. In Breaking News Alan Rusbridger offers an open, personal and agenda-setting account of how we arrived at the news world of today. The President of the United States regularly lies to the public and accuses anyone who criticisms him of being fake. So how do we hold those in power accountable? Fox News, Breitbart Media and the Murdoch papers peddle views not news, pushing politically-motivated agendas. So, where can we look for reliable, verifiable sources of news and information?
What does it mean for democracy? And what will the future hold? Reflecting on his twenty years as editor of the Guardian and his experience of breaking some of the most significant news stories of our time, including the Edward Snowden revelations, phone-hacking, wikileaks and the Keep in the Ground campaign, Rusbridger answers these questions and offers a stirring defence of why quality journalism matters now more than ever.
Alan is a fearless defender of the public interest who has had a singular career in journalism. This book looks at how language has evolved around the globe from ancestral proto-languages to our recognisable modern tongues. It demonstrates how language has been shaped by social and cultural influences, and even explains how our anatomy affects the articulation, and therefore evolution, of words. Discover the surprising stories behind the origin of the written word, the difficulties of decipherment and the challenge of inventing from scratch languages such as Dothraki.
Why do we keep sheep? Naive and inexperienced, he has ditched his doctoral studies in order to move to a fully working farm in the country with his family, where he is tasked with the responsibility of caring for a herd of sheep. He finds himself applying his experiences of animal husbandry to consider our place — as individuals and as a collective organism — in the universe. Is he really the one caring for the sheep, or are they the ones keeping him? Bringing together a variety of previously uncollected stories, columns, reviews, introductions, and interviews, this book finds him approaching the dynamics of his chosen profession with cynical aplomb, deflating pretentions and tearing down idols armed with only a typewriter and a bottle of beer.
There is a new global elite at the controls of our economic future, and here former Project Censored director and media monitoring sociologist Peter Phillips unveils for the general reader just who these players are. Who exactly are the masters? This remarkable inquiry lifts the veil, providing detailed and often shocking revelations about the astonishing concentration of private wealth and corporate power, its institutions and integrated structure—and not least, its threat to civilized and humane existence.
The reader will find impressive documentation of the institutions and personnel driving capitalist globalization in its destructive and relentless search for growth and profits. It illustrates the dynamics of character and culture that reflect familial strife, political conflict, and personal turmoil through an array of stories that reveal the depth of the human experience. Representing a wide range of styles, themes, and perspectives, these selected stories depict moments that linger—crossroads to be navigated, relationships, epiphanies, and times of doubt, loss, and discovery.
Poet, writer, and Instagram sensation Nikita Gill returns with a collection of fairytales poetically retold for a new generation of women. But in this rousing new prose and poetry collection, Nikita Gill gives Once Upon a Time a much-needed modern makeover. Through her gorgeous reimagining of fairytale classics and spellbinding original tales, she dismantles the old-fashioned tropes that have been ingrained in our minds. In this book, gone are the docile women and male saviors. Instead, lines blur between heroes and villains. You will meet fearless princesses, a new kind of wolf lurking in the concrete jungle, and an independent Gretel who can bring down monsters on her own.
Classic fairytales get a refreshing satirical twist in this collection of illustrated stories in which gnomes, pixies, and other fairy folk share tall tales of the strange and unbelievable human world and its inhabitants. You may even start believing in magic. Magic that is invented in our minds and made real by our words and our pens. Magic that adds life to the human experience. With this exquisite infographic masterpiece, Zack Scott explores in stunning detail the majestic constructions that humans have created on the surface of our own planet. From Stonehenge to the Burj Khalifa; the Taj Mahal to the Shard, Zack shares the little-known facts and fascinating human stories behind the most incredible buildings in the world.
I pored over these maps for hours, imagining those minds hard at work, visualising how it all connected as a whole. Just brilliant. Before you could just put finger to phone to scroll Google Maps, in advance of the era of digital mapping and globes, maps were being constructed from the ideas and questions of pioneering individuals. From visionary geographers to heroic explorers, from the mysterious symbols of the Stone Age to the familiar navigation of Google Earth, Thomas Reinertsen Berg examines the fascinating concepts of science and worldview, of art and technology, power and ambitions, practical needs and distant dreams of the unknown.
A journey through the most unlikely of gardens: the oases of peace people create in the midst of war. In this millennium, we have become war weary. Living through it are people just like us with ordinary jobs, ordinary pressures and ordinary lives. Against a new landscape of horror and violence it is up to them to maintain a modicum of normality and colour.
For some, gardening is the way to achieve this. A creative call to arms from the mind of Neil Gaiman, combining his extraordinary words with deft and striking illustrations by Chris Riddell. This little book is the embodiment of that vision. For years Jaxie Clackton has dreaded going home. His beloved mum is dead, and he wishes his dad was too, until one terrible moment leaves his life stripped to nothing.
No one ever told Jaxie Clackton to be careful what he wishes for. And so Jaxie runs. This is a journey only a dreamer — or a fugitive — would attempt. Most of all it is about what it takes to keep hope alive in a parched and brutal world. Brutal, agonizing, tender. A small city in western France. The early twentieth century. Suzanne Malherbe, a shy year-old with a rare talent for drawing, is entranced by the brilliant but troubled Lucie Schwob, the daughter of a Jewish newspaper magnate, and the two young women embark on a clandestine love affair.
Theirs is a story that has been hidden in the margins of history — until now…. Through the measured but incisive voice of Suzanne Malherbe, the reader enters the intimate world of two life-long lovers, artistic collaborators, and anti-Nazi rebels who left behind a haunting photographic legacy. After I finished this acute and tender book, I felt that two fascinating ghosts had become real.
Burundi, For ten-year-old Gabriel, life in his comfortable expat neighbourhood of Bujumbura with his French father, Rwandan mother and little sister, Ana, is something close to paradise. These are happy, carefree days spent with his friends sneaking cigarettes and stealing mangoes, swimming in the river and riding bikes in the streets they have turned into their kingdom. But dark clouds are gathering over this small country, and soon their peaceful idyll will shatter when Burundi and neighbouring Rwanda are brutally hit by war and genocide.
It is a stirring tribute not only to a time of tragedy, but also to the bright days that came before it. It sets forth a vision of the world that is poetic rather than political, where horror is displaced by wonder. They are the confidants and bankers of governments and emperors. Little happens without their say-so and even less without their knowledge. While power lies in wealth, strength lies in family.
It is sensible and strategic. Greta is neither. Defiant and unhappy, she is desperate to find a place that belongs to her, free from duty and responsibility. For the first time in two hundred years, the family will find themselves on opposing sides. Over countless martini-soaked Manhattan lunches, they shared their deepest secrets and greatest fears.
They never imagined he would betray them so absolutely. Why did he do it, knowing what he stood to lose? Was it to punish them? To make them pay for their manners, money and celebrated names? Or did he simply refuse to believe that they could ever stop loving him? A dazzling debut about the line between gossip and slander, self-creation and self-preservation, SWAN SONG is the tragic story of the literary icon of his age and the beautiful, wealthy, vulnerable women he called his Swans.
Outside is the world from which she has been permanently severed: the San Francisco of her youth, changed almost beyond recognition. The Mars Room strip club where she once gave lap dances for a living. Inside is a new reality to adapt to: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive. The deadpan absurdities of institutional living, which Kushner details with humour and precision. Daily acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike.
Allegiances formed over liquor brewed in socks, and stories shared through sewage pipes. Romy sees the future stretch out ahead of her in a long, unwavering line — until news from outside brings a ferocious urgency to her existence, challenging her to escape her own destiny and culminating in a climax of almost unbearable intensity. When MI6 become aware of Firefly and what he knows, the race is on to find him. Paul Samson, ex-MI6 agent and now private eye, finds himself recruited to the cause. British espionage fiction is the best in the world, and Porter is part of the reason why.
A hilariously charming novel about a heartbroken man trying to redeem himself by championing forgotten books. So begins this Wes Anderson-like novel hilariously spoofing modernist literature even as it tells a stirring — and eerily suspenseful — story about someone desperate to prove the redeeming power of reading — and writing — books.
Rose has created an intricate exploration of literary intrigue, suspense and levity — lose yourself in this book at once, and savour every moment.
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In , Yale Tishman, the development director for an art gallery in Chicago, is about to pull off an amazing coup: bringing an extraordinary collection of s paintings as a gift to the gallery. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDs epidemic grows around him.
Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, a famous photographer who documented the Chicago epidemic, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways the AIDS crisis affected her life and her relationship with her daughter.
Makkai shows us characters who are devastated but not defeated, who remain devoted, in the face of death, to friendship and desire and joyful, irrepressible life. I loved this book. A deep and luminous story of late love and second chances — an enduring novel of ideas about life, love and the surprises it throws at us.
Anders has lost his wife, along with his hopes and dreams for the future. Slowly their correspondence blossoms as they bare their souls to each other with stories of joy, anguish and discovery. Proof that the richest fruits come on the edge of autumn. His work is always quietly compassionate. In this final collection of ten exquisite, perceptive and profound stories, William Trevor probes into the depths of the human spirit. He was and will remain the Irish William Trevor. The goose just is. And what the goose is is goose.
But goose is not goose, Robert thinks. And Jayne, who has no choice but to investigate a strange noise downstairs while her husband lies glued to the bed with fear. Do you even have to write poetry? You empower yourself and then you reach out to others. As a young boy, Ndaba was constantly shunted from place to place. But at eleven years old he was unexpectedly invited to live with his grandfather, Nelson Mandela, even though he had met him only once before, during a prison visit. And, slowly, they built a relationship that would affect both of them profoundly.
From Nelson Mandela, Ndaba learned the spirit of endurance, the triumph of forgiveness, the power of resistance and the beauty of reconciliation. The first authorised and authenticated collection of correspondence spanning the 27 years Nelson Mandela was held as a political prisoner. While incarcerated in South Africa as a sentenced prisoner between and , Nelson Mandela wrote hundreds of letters to loved ones, followers, prison authorities and government officials documenting his plight as the most prominent political prisoner of the twentieth century.
With accompanying facsimiles of some of the letters and generous annotations, the book provides a personal and intimate portrait of the lawyer and political activist as husband, parent, friend and political prisoner, reflecting on everything from the trajectory of the anti-apartheid movement to the death of his beloved son, Thembi. Publishing for the centenary of Mandela s birth, The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela forms a new autobiographical vision, providing insight into how Mandela maintained his inner spirits while living in almost complete isolation and how he engaged with an outside world that became increasingly outraged by his plight.
Firm ground amidst swirling currents. To me, even as a biographer of Mandela, it is a revelatory volume. The letters are in multiple languages, English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa, but they speak the language of humanity, which is the language of that fraught but loaded prison word: time. They learn that he was a freedom fighter who put down his weapons for the sake of peace, and who then became the President of South Africa and a Nobel Peace Prize-winner, and realise that they can continue his legacy in the world today. What can one word do? If used correctly, it can make us laugh and make us cry.
Every single day except Sundays , he posts a single Zulu word on his Facebook profile accompanied by a left-field explanation and examples of its use. His fans love him for his honesty and commitment to pointing out subtle and overt forms of prejudice and racism. Frank, thought-provoking, intimate and hilarious — this is a book every South African should read to discover just how much we have in common.
Nothing in life is certain, except death and taxes — or so the saying goes. South African tax dodgers and criminals — from drug dealers and rhino horn smugglers to one of the hitmen who shot Brett Kebble — have come to realise this truth the hard way. Since the early days of democracy, a small but determined band of people at SARS who fulfilled various investigative functions came to know every trick and scam in the book, and developed the expertise on how best to hold tax dodgers to account. Their cases often dragged on for years, with many of the defendants using every legal trick to fight back — but SARS never gave up.
Van Loggerenberg also revisits events around the hollowing out of the tax authority post and brings the reader up to date on the extraordinary occurrences at SARS since the new dawn of the Cyril Ramaphosa era. It matches the man. Benjamin Zephaniah, who has travelled the world for his art and his humanitarianism, now tells the one story that encompasses it all: the story of his life. His poetry was political, musical, radical and relevant. Benjamin would also go on to be the first artist to record with The Wailers after the death of Bob Marley in a musical tribute to Nelson Mandela.
Landa Mabenge is born in April From an early age Yolanda is aware that she does not fit into her body. Why does she not have a penis like her boy cousins? Why does she have to wear dresses when all she wants is to wear trousers and shorts like all the other boys? Why does she feel excited when she is close to her girl cousin?
Uprooted from a stable and loving home in Umtata, where she was accepted for who she was, she is now subjected to horrific physical, emotional and psychological abuse. At UCT the harassment from her mother continues by way of phone calls accusing her of being a whore, of sleeping around and of having AIDS. Landa begins isolating herself and drinking heavily. She starts attending sessions through UCT counselling services, with therapist Birgit Schreiber, a woman who will play a pivotal role in her transformation. By the end of the year she suffers a total breakdown.
She is finally disowned by her biological mother, which paves the way for Yolanda to shift out of the identity that has held her hostage and now embrace becoming Landa. She has become he. The next few years see Landa undertake a mammoth mission to transition. Today Landa lives a transformed and happy life as a transgender activist and consultant. Bestselling author Simon Winchester writes a magnificent history of the pioneering engineers who developed precision machinery to allow us to see as far as the moon and as close as the Higgs boson.
Precision is the key to everything. It is an integral, unchallenged and essential component of our modern social, mercantile, scientific, mechanical and intellectual landscapes. The items we value in our daily lives — a camera, phone, computer, bicycle, car, a dishwasher perhaps — all sport components that fit together with precision and operate with near perfection.
We also assume that the more precise a device the better it is. And yet whilst we live lives peppered and larded with precision, we are not, when we come to think about it, entirely sure what precision is, or what it means. How and when did it begin to build the modern world? As he introduces the minds and methods that have changed the modern world, Winchester explores fundamental questions.
Why is precision important? What are the different tools we use to measure it? Who has invented and perfected it? Has the pursuit of the ultra-precise in so many facets of human life blinded us to other things of equal value, such as an appreciation for the age-old traditions of craftsmanship, art, and high culture?
Are we missing something that reflects the world as it is, rather than the world as we think we would wish it to be? And can the precise and the natural co-exist in society? It challenges us to reflect on our progress as humans and what has made it possible. These whir smoothly alongside the argot of the machine shop … Mr. Winchester covers more than years of fine-tuning in this work, and corrals a large cast of eccentric individuals. With a death toll of between 50 and million people and a global reach, the Spanish flu of — was the greatest human disaster, not only of the twentieth century, but possibly in all of recorded history.
And yet, in our popular conception it exists largely as a footnote to World War I. She shows how the pandemic was shaped by the interaction of a virus and the humans it encountered; and how this devastating natural experiment put both the ingenuity and the vulnerability of humans to the test. Laura Spinney demonstrates that the Spanish flu was as significant — if not more so — as two world wars in shaping the modern world; in disrupting, and often permanently altering, global politics, race relations, family structures, and thinking across medicine, religion and the arts.
The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos, the multibillion-dollar biotech startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end, despite pressure from its charismatic CEO and threats by her lawyers. It is a tale of heroic cupidity on a scale that made the very best and the very brightest look like the very, very foolish. You will not be able to put this book down.
There is nothing quite as beautiful as an English country house in summer. And there has never been a summer quite like that Indian summer between the two world wars, a period of gentle decline in which the sun set slowly on the British Empire and the shadows lengthened on the lawns of a thousand stately homes. Real life in the country house during the s and s was not always so sunny.
By turns opulent and ordinary, noble and vicious, its shadows were darker. You may not run away from the thing that you are because it comes and comes and comes as sure as you breathe. Daley-Ward writes with disarming honesty. This is a brilliant, compelling book. Love is a great leveller. But the experience of obsessive love is no trivial matter. In the course of his career psychologist Dr Frank Tallis has treated many unusual patients, whose stories have lessons for all of us. These are just some of the people whom we meet in an extraordinary and original book that explores the conditions of longing and desire — true accounts of psychotherapy that take the reader on a journey through the darker realms of the amorous mind.
There have been quite a few such books recently, most of them overpraised and not as well written as their admirers claim. But Tallis writes with clarity and wit about the morbid condition of love, which emerges here as a kind of mental disorder. He is alert to every nuance. He knows how to tell a story. Boy, does he know how to tell a story.
And why, in comparison, are our closest primate relatives reduced to near-extinction? Big History creator David Christian gives the answers in a mind-expanding cosmological detective story told on the grandest possible scale.
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This last mega-innovation gave us an energy bonanza that brought huge benefits to mankind, yet also threatens to shake apart everything we have created. This global origin story is one that we could only begin to tell recently, thanks to the underlying unity of modern knowledge. This is a wonderful achievement. Christian tells this story very well, providing, in effect, a short course in modern science.
This is a brief history of the universe, and an excellent one. On May 27th, , Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart met a flirtatious little starling who sang an improved version of! For three years Mozart and his family enjoyed the uniquely delightful company of the starling until one April morning when the bird passed away. Each of these strange and true tales — populated by self-mummifying monks, tree-climbing goats and ever-so-slightly radioactive nuts — is illustrated by Lucille Clerc, taking the reader on a journey that is as informative as it is beautiful.
Had I written it myself, I would die happy. Would you rather love the more, and suffer the more; or love the less, and suffer the less? That is, I think, finally, the only real question. As he grows older, the demands placed on Paul by love become far greater than he could possibly have foreseen. Quietly devastating. In her provocative debut, Carmen Maria Machado demolishes the borders between magical realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism.
A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague spreads across the earth. Bodies become inconsequential, humans become monstrous, and anger becomes erotic. Ingrid Hoffmann has always felt responsible for her sister Margarete and when their family moves to German Southwest Africa in , her anxieties only increase. The casual racism that pervades the German community, the strange relationship between her parents and Baron von Ketz, from whom they bought their land, and the tension with the local tribes all culminate in tragedy when Baron von Ketz is savagely murdered. The mystery of what happened to her sister haunts Ingrid, but as Europe descends into chaos, her hope of discovering the truth becomes ever more distant.
Broken postwar Germany is superbly drawn and events in Africa are horrific. The baby is dead. It only took a few seconds. When Myriam, a French-Moroccan lawyer, decides to return to work after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect caretaker for their two young children. The couple and nanny become more dependent on each other. I absolutely loved it — and read it in one sitting. Long live the novel. But, partly because Slimani looks so clearly at these losses, not only giving them their due, but placing them carefully for full narrative impact, Lullaby also works as a thriller, which is quite a balancing act to pull off.
Slimani horribly illuminates the darkest fears of a great many parents of small children anxiously trying to get on with their lives. Irene Bobs loves fast driving. Her husband is the best car salesman in rural south eastern Australia. Together with Willie, their lanky navigator, they embark upon the Redex Trial, a brutal race around the continent, over roads no car will ever quite survive. Set in the s in the embers of the British Empire, painting a picture of Queen and subject, black, white and those in-between, this brilliantly vivid novel illustrates how the possession of an ancient culture spirals through history — and the love made and hurt caused along the way.
Over the years that follow, the siblings must choose how to live with the prophecies the fortune-teller gave them that day. Will they accept, ignore, cheat or defy them? A memorable and heartfelt look at what might happen to a family who knows too much. You can feel it in the woods, in the school and in the playground; you can feel it in the houses and at the fairground. You can feel it in most places in the small town of Anderbury. It began back in , at the fair, on the day of the accident. He gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages for his friends and it was fun, until the chalk men led them to a body.
Thirty years later, Ed believes the past is far behind him, until an envelope slips through the letterbox. It contains a stick of chalk, and a drawing of a figure. Reminiscent of those unsettling Stephen King stories of childhood. But this is Joburg, a metropolis that is equal parts flash and shadow, and where not everything can be easily explained.
Ian Jack, a disillusioned former police officer, teams up with Reshma Patel, a colleague from his old life, to investigate a routine housebreaking gone bad. But when they uncover links to a possible animal poaching and trafficking syndicate, things go from complicated to dangerous to downright evil. Set against the richly textured backdrop of a livewire African city, this fast-paced thriller offers a disturbing contemporary take on justice and morality. To be read with the lights on. The police have a victim, a suspect in custody and an eye-witness account, but Julie remains troubled.
Brilliant writing, great story. One of those great stories that was just waiting to be told. The year is As he makes his way to the capital to pledge allegiance to the new leader of the Buganda Kingdom, Kintu Kidda unleashes a curse that will plague his family for generations. Blending Ganda oral tradition, myth, folktale and history, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi has brought to life an extraordinarily colourful cast of characters to produce a powerful epic — a modern classic.
Every mother is a woman with a past. When Katharine is found dead at the foot of her stairs, it is the mystery of her life that consumes her daughter, Laura. It forces her to confront a new version of the woman she knew only as her mother — a woman silenced by her own mother, and wronged by her husband. A woman who felt shackled by tradition and unable to love freely. Midwinter in the early years of this century. A teenage girl on holiday has gone missing in the hills at the heart of England. The villagers are called up to join the search, fanning out across the moors as the police set up roadblocks and a crowd of news reporters descends on their usually quiet home.
A hunt for a birthday present takes an alarming turn, and a teenage game grows serious. Fresh hurts open old wounds, salvation comes from unexpected quarters and chance encounters release long-buried memories. What did she see? Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers. But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see.
Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself? The writing is smooth and often remarkable. The way Finn plays off this totally original story against a background of film noir is both delightful and chilling. I read The Woman in the Window in a single day. Full of suspense and surprises and told with heart, The Woman in the Window will send readers racing through its pages.
A stunning first outing from A. He is a tremendous new talent. A taut, utterly compelling story. Lovely and amazing. I could weave in more superlatives but you get the idea. Every South African should read it. South Africans had become accustomed to seeing Going, glamorous and groomed on television or hearing her resonant voice on Radio Metro and Kaya FM.
What had started off as a fairy-tale romance with a man who appeared to be everything that Going was looking for — charming, handsome and successful — had quickly descended into a violent, abusive relationship. A short relationship became a two-and-a-half-year legal ordeal played out in the public eye. In mesmerising detail, Going takes us through the harrowing court process — a system seeped in injustice — her decline into depression, the immediate collapse of her career due to the highly public nature of her assault and the decades-long journey to undo the psychological damages in the search for safety and the reclaiming of self.
In an age of aggressive colonial expansion, land dispossession and forced labour, these men believed in a constitutional system that respected individual rights and freedoms, and they used the law as an instrument against injustice. It analyses the legal cases they took on, explores how they reconciled the law with the political upheavals of the day, and considers how they sustained their fidelity to the law when legal victories were undermined by politics.
Wilkinson, K. The scope of Even. Natural Language Semantics 4. Close spectral analysis reveals that consonants vary more than even trained listeners typically detect during impressionistic listening. Consonants respond phonetically to a range of conditioning environments: with hyperarticulation under stress De Jong , reinforcement in prominent prosodic positions Fougeron , reduction in colloquial speech Brown , Kohler , and reduction in highly predictable words Jurafsky et al.
The purpose of this study is to argue, based on my own research, for the theoretical relevance of careful phonetic investigation of consonant variation. This is not intentional categorical variation, but stochastic variation as Pierrehumbert describes. I demonstrate, based on acoustic studies of 20 American English and 17 Mexican Spanish consonants in read speech, that consonants display both random and environment-specific variation in degree of constriction.
Stops do not always have complete seals nor do they always have release bursts. Fricatives do not always have concentrated noise. In unstressed or medial positions, consonants may receive more sonorous realizations; in stressed or initial positions, they tend toward less sonorous realizations. Depending on environment, in English we may find voiceless stops realized as continuants; voiced stops as approximants; voiceless fricatives as stops; and voiced fricatives as stops, approximants, or glides.
In Spanish, we may find voiceless fricatives realized as approximants; and voiced obstruents as stops, approximants, or glides, though seldom as true fricatives. I argue that, as with vowels Manuel , the consonant inventory constrains possible variation, voiceless velars being a prime example. Studies of consonant variation contribute both to phonetic and phonological theory, providing data to test a range of hypotheses.
Consonant variation is a potential diagnostic of speech rate or style. We can determine if consonants and vowels reduce in tandem, testing the linkage between consonantal and vocalic tiers. Subphonemic consonant variation stands to offer rich theoretical rewards. Zoll and Inkelas analyze unintensive reduplication in the Bantu language Ndebele. Ndebele produces an impressive display of optionality, with some underlying forms having 5 different alternate surface forms.
The problem is to satisfactorily account for this variation. Zoll and Inkelas present the analysis as a showcase example of their analysis of reduplication as morpheme doubling and a refutation of Prince and McCarthy's Correspondence Theory of Reduplication. I will present a much more straightforward analysis, using a development of Raimy's theory of reduplication that I call Distributed Reduplication DR. Looked at correctly, Ndebele unintensive reduplication is quite similar to much-studied reduplicative processes in Mokilese and Ilocano.
DR gives straightforward analyses of these processes as well. The starting point for DR is a proposal about the way that copying and truncation are carried out and the way that the two operations interact. Marking is carried out by inserting special junctures into the timing tier. Interestingly, DNA uses similar techniques in replication. Promoter proteins acting like chemical junctures bind to specific sites on DNA acting like structure dependent juncture insertion rules to mark the position for the initiation of replication.
Stop codons mark the terminus. Other proteins are used to mark the initiation and terminus of splicing truncation. Less spectacularly, but more widely known, repeat marks are inserted into musical scores to indicate future duplication at the time of performance. The important point for phonological reduplication is that marking the stretches of the timing tier for intended duplication and truncation is a separate operation from actual copying and truncation. Other operations can therefore intervene operations aimed at achieving a particular prosodic form, for example.
In addition to Ndebele, Mokilese, and Ilocano, DR will be illustrated for a range of other well-and-not-so-well-known examples. This fact also correlates with the small number of dedicated adnominal modifiers nominal quantifiers as well as attributive adjectives in the same set of languages, a property which has caused much grief to compilers of West African wordlists using Romance and Germanic metalanguages.
Instead of categorial adverbs, Benue-Kwa employs a mix of complex predicators e. Correspondingly, instead of attributive adjectives we find reduced relative clauses based on stative verbs, including many examples of light verb plus nominal constant Welmers , Madu. Despite the foregoing, let us consider the possibility of a uniform adverbial syntax for both West Europe and West Africa, concentrating here on the African part cf. Between them, Igbo and Yoruba have two ways to build a phrase meaning 'go quickly' from a VP 'go' plus a noun 'urgency' or 'speed'.
Option 1 puts the nominal modifier in a higher instrumental phrase, while option 2 hypothetically fronts the VP around the modifier. This fronting is apparently obligatory in Yoruba: 1b is out. A third option 3 , a serial construction, is a highly productive but syntactically unrelated paraphrase of the preceding two, as suggested by the noncognate lexical material and different categorial input, and we set it aside. Crucially, modifier extraction is incompatible with fronting, such that -- remarkably enough -- Yoruba matches Igbo exactly in the question form: a light predicator of manner, with a literal meaning 'use', 'from' or 'do' is required in 4 in both languages.
The data in 4 are complicated by independent factors. In Igbo 4a , wh-chains are sensitive to the internal complexity of wh-expressions cf.
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Goldsmith In Yoruba 4b , the progressive auxiliary [n] cannot precede a light predicator like [s. Oyelaran , Dechaine For joint reasons of interpretation and pronunciation, the null head of AdvP, indicated in 5a by X, raises to T where it is realised as the light manner predicator. This raising is strikingly confirmed in Yoruba by the linear order of overt X before progressive [n]; the situation in Igbo is less clear because progressive involves both an aux and a nominalized VP, and in manner questions the aux part is suppressed.
In 5b , X can remain null because the fronted VP has scope over the Adverb. The type of position to which VP fronts is an open question; what is important for the present discussion is the impossibility of wh-movement combined with fronting 5b. This can be ascribed to Minimality or in archaic terminology, 'proper government', cf. Carstens Throughout the data in 1 - 4 , the a sentence is Igbo and the b sentence Yoruba; both progressive and past terminative versions are given.
For typographic reasons, the orthographic subdot [. O ji-ri o. O je-re n' o. GEN nom-go '3S is going quickly'. O n sare lo. O sare lo. Bawo ni o s. Abraham , p. Abraham, R. Dictionary of Modern Yoruba. University of London Press. Carstens, V. Proper government in Yoruba. Cinque, G. Oxford University Press. Dechaine, R. Inflection in Igbo and Yoruba. Adverbs, modals and the syntax of modifiers in Igbo. Goldsmith, J. The structure of wh-questions in Igbo. Linguistic Analysis 7, Greenberg, J.
The Languages of Africa. Mouton, the Hague. Hale, K. Igbo bipositional verbs in a syntactic theory of argument structure. Theoretical Approaches to African Linguistics , edited by A. Akinlabi, Africa World Press, Trenton, N. Igwe, G. Igbo-English Dictionary.
University Press Ltd, Ibadan. Serialization and consecutivization in Igbo. Jonas, D. Specs for subjects: the role of TP in Icelandic. Igbo adjectives as morphologised relatives. Studies in African Linguistics 2 1, Moro, A. Dynamic Antisymmetry. Oyelaran, O. The category AUX in Yoruba phrase structure. Pollock, J. Verb movement, Universal Grammar, and the structure of IP. Linguistic Inquiry 20, Welmers, W. African Language Structures. University of California Press, Berkeley. I propose a pragmatic account of temporally mismatched past subjunctive counterfactuals such as "If Jack had got married tomorrow, they could have had the outdoors reception".
First, I'll show that in case of temporal mismatches, Past has to be interpreted as constraining the time variable of the accessibility relation. Second, I'll propose specific Felicity Conditions presuppositions for subjunctive conditionals and I will argue that there is a strict correspondence between the time of the accessibility relation and the time relevant for the felicity conditions. Specifically, if the time relevant for the selection of the worlds quantified over by the conditional operator is past, then the conditional's presupposition will talk about the speaker's past epistemic states.
I'll support these new felicity conditions empirically and discuss their repercussions on the puzzle of presupposition projection. Third, I'll argue that the intuition that the antecedent of a mismatched past subjunctive counterfactual is impossible is a Gricean scalar implicature arising from a competition between presuppositions and not assertions. Journal of Semantics. Ogihara, T. SALT MIT Phonology Circle. The phonology of base clitic constructions in various colloquial dialects of Arabic has figured prominently in discussions of cyclic effects ever since it was first observed by Brame See recent papers by Kager , Kiparsky , among others.
However, there is one aspect of the construction that has been overlooked in the generative literature. The 3 sg. In his discussion of the Damascus dialect ,T. Mitchell proposed that stress shifts in the 3 sg. If this is the correct interpretation of the phenomenon, it implies that the phonology of one form of the paradigm cannot be calculated in isolation from the others. More importantly, the effect cannot be formalized in terms of the traditional cycle because neither the 3 sg. In this paper we review Mitchell's analysis of the Damascus dialect and then report the preliminary results of a survey of other dialects.
Inflected words in Finnish show a range of interdependent stem and suffix alternations, many in systematic free variation. The phonological constraints that interact to produce the alternations are conditioned by syllable structure and stress at the stem level, masked at the word level by rhythmic stress and resyllabification.
I present an analysis of these data which supports stratal OT over non-stratal, fully parallel OT. Antecedent Contained Deletion raises a problem for theories of ellipsis, which, according to much literature, is resolved by Quantifier Raising. The resolution, however, conflicts with the copy theory of movement. This paper argues that this conflict is resolved with the aid of a theory of extraposition and covert movement proposed by Fox and Nissenbaum , when accompanied with certain assumptions about the structure of relative clauses and the way chains are interpreted.
The resolution makes various new predictions and provides an account of a wide range of otherwise puzzling facts. Audiograms are often thought of as if they were singular elements ie microphones with sub-optimal frequency responses. Such a view also implies a single relationship between severity and speech intelligibility as well. Also, hearing loss is often modeled as the disruption of the normal strategies used to process speech, with little attention paid to alternate abilities not used by normals which are uncovered by disease.
These assumptions result in both diagnostic and hearing aid fitting concepts which do not seem to work well in the clinic. Conversely, if the standard clinical tests are re-evaluated with the assumption that the cochlea is an array of many receptors some damaged , different and more clinically useful results are seen. We will try to reschedule for later during this academic year.
HUMIT in the new millennium. The Cambridge Prosody Group presents a tutorial for those interested in intonation for any reason Laura will give about an hour's worth of presentation and then we will move to computers to try out the ToBI exercises. Cleft construction, exemplified in 1 , is one of the well-known constructions, but no consensus about its syntactic derivation has been established. His proposal, however, does not clarify the derivation in detail. In this study, we make an explicit proposal for cleft construction in Japanese. We present a set of new data that is problematic for Koizumi's analysis, and show that our analysis provides an explanation for it, while it still captures what Koizumi's analysis tries to capture.
Furthermore, our analysis reveals certain missing links that relate a few other constructions in an interesting way. Koizumi proposes that Japanese has V-to-C movement. As a result, neither VP nor TP contains the head verb itself. He claims that the element that appears in the focus position of a cleft sentence before the copula 'da' is actually this remnant VP 2 or TP 3 , not a DP itself. This analysis easily captures the fact that Japanese allows so-called multiple clefts:.
Also, his analysis explains why multiple cleft is subject to so- called "clause-mate condition", that is, phrases in the focus position must originate the same clause. Under this analysis, however, it is not at all clear how the remnant VP appears in this position, and how the topicalized clause show up, guided with a nominalizer 'no'.
Our analysis can be roughly described as follows: We first claim that clefts are derived by certain syntactic movements from so- called "no da" construction, another focus construction in Japanese. The "no da" construction is a sentence in which a whole TP is followed by a nominalizer no followed by a copula da. After the focus movement of the to-be-focused phrase, the nominalized TP, i.
As for the clause- mate condition, it is interesting to note that this condition is also observed in the multiple application of so-called A-bar scrambling. Therefore, we can say that the clause-mate condition is a property of A-bar movement in general. Since our analysis assumes A-bar focus movement, it is natural that we observe the same condition for clefts. The focused phrase appears right before the copula by focus movement followed the topicalization of the nominalized TP. Since the topicalized constituent is the nominalized TP, the nominalizer 'no' appears right before the topic marker.
Furthermore, it is important to note that wh-phrases do not follow the clause-mate condition. Our analysis, on the contrary, is still compatible with the data. We will show that the lack of clause-mate condition is due to a phenomenon called deaccenting, which obligatorily takes place after wh-phrase in Japanese.
Our analysis can be extended to the sluicing construction. In Japanese, multiple sluicing is possible, just like clefts, while sluicing does not exhibit the clause-mate condition, unlike the cleft. We claim that the sluicing is also derived from the no da construction. This analysis explains the fact that Japanese allows multiple sluicing, as well as the fact that it does not exhibit clause-mate condition, since sluicing involves possibly multiple focus movement, and the wh-phrases are exempt from the clause-mate condition due to deaccenting.
Our analysis provides a straightforward account for the missing link between the two constructions. Herter is the seven story classroom building which forms an L with the Fine Arts Center at the south edge of campus. They are both part of a U-shaped arrangement of buildings around a central grassy expanse called Haigis Mall, which sits, with flags at the end, alongside the road that both leads into the center of Amherst and which leads to Rte. General driving directions to U Mass Amherst are available on their web site www. I will present some techniques for eliciting spontaneous speech and the kinds of speech that results.
If you have heard about an interesting way of eliciting speech, please plan to share the details. Street parking may be available in the afternoon, but give yourself plenty of time to find it. Also note that there is a huge amount of road construction at the intersection of Mass Ave. Via public transportation, take the red line to Kendall Sq.
Upon exiting the station, walk up Main St. Building 34 is the first building on the left after the construction. You could also take a bus, such as the 1, to 77 Mass Ave. Our intent in starting this group is to provide a semi-regular forum for researchers who are working on aspects of prosodic structure. We hope to encourage informal networks of collaborators so that knowledge can be spread and shared. Our first meeting on July 12 will consist of a short presentation and discussion. We will likely also find out what attendees might like to get out of such a group.
Future meetings may consist of presentation, tutorial, focused discussion, or some combination thereof. Linguistics Department Lecture at Harvard. I used a picture selection and description task to evaluate how successful the two groups are at interpreting object clitics at various stages of acquisition, and to determine how closely these children follow the developmental path of other children acquiring similar elements in Spanish as a first language, as well as other first and second languages.
The Full Access hypothesis of second language acquisition Epstein, Flynn and Martohardjono , Schwartz and Sprouse , White among others hold that L2 acquisition is inherently the same process as L1 acquisition, deriving from the same language acquisition device. In previous studies Deutsch, Koster and Koster , Padilla , Crysmann and Muller , sentences involving reflexive anaphora were interpreted successfully earlier than sentences involving non-reflexive anaphora.
Findings: L2 Southern Quechua Spanish speakers resemble L1 acquirers of Spanish, L1 acquirers of Dutch, and bilingual acquirers of French and German, in that reflexive and non-reflexive elements are interpreted with significantly different success from one another at various stages of acquisition. Successful interpretation of reflexive and oblique 3P clitics increases with age, and comes earlier for reflexives than for obliques. Monolingual Spanish results did not pattern with the others.
Performance on oblique and no clitic structures appeared to be at ceiling from the earliest stage tested, and target-like interpretation of reflexives decreased with age at the latest stage tested. Error scores and production data will be discussed in this regard. In addition to investigating how L2 Quechua Spanish relates to widely attested patterns in development, my study explores the role of Quechua morpho-syntax if any in determining the acquisition trajectory. The hypothesis that L2 functional feature values are limited to those defined in L1 Hawkins and Chan , Hawkins requires us to examine properties of 3P objects in Quechua.
Oblique 3P objects are null in Quechua while they are marked overtly in Spanish, but both languages mark reflexives overtly:. Further evidence of potential L1 influence will be examined in the error scores and production data. The deletion view, however, brings with it a number of puzzles; in this talk, I concentrate on three of these, which fall into two general classes: instances of usually possible movements that are impossible under ellipsis, and impossible movements that become possible only under ellipsis.
The first class includes I-to-C movement in matrix questions in the Germanic languages, which is impossible under sluicing, and which I argue provide support for a particular version of the strong lexicalist hypothesis. The second class includes island-violating wh-movement under sluicing and the obligatory presence of VP-ellipsis in comparatives with I-to-C movement. In both cases, I argue that the nature of the problem rests with certain ill-formed intermediate traces of movement. Boston University undergraduate Linguistics Association.
Mary's St. Robert Hoffmeister , Boston University at For details, click here. Boston University Human Development Colloquium. Following is the schedule for the day's events:. Michael Lynch Cornell University : "Following instructions', membership, and blame: an alternative ethnomethodological treatment of institutional discourse. Reed Stevens University of Washington : "Within and across moments: the help ethnomethodology provides for respecifying 'learning'".
Demonstration of praxiological orders involving audience participation. Meetings feature presentations by invited speakers on topics ranging from theoretical and methodological discussions to studies based on empirical research. It is bordered by Prescott, Harvard, and Quincy Streets. Enter the courtyard from Quincy Street. The Barker Center is a large brick building facing the faculty club. All parkers should identify themselves as participants in the Communication and Culture Seminar at the Humanities Center. If there are no spaces available the guard will direct you to another Harvard parking facility.
The discussion of so-called datives in fact allows us to make the point that it is not just the notion of Case that is called into question. By analyzing 1 as we do, we imply that Number is also a descriptive artefact; there is no Number but only Q properties which may subsume plurality. Let's draw some conclusions. Second, there truly are no separate realms of syntactic categories and morphological features; in the syntax we are used to think of Q as hosting one as well as two, three, many, but so evidently it is in the morphology.
The 'i' formative in 1 corresponds to a category that covers plurality but does not in any way identify with it. In both cases the conclusions to be drawn correspond to considerable simplifications with respect to current views; which clinches the case in their favor. The key restriction seem to be that each lexical element - hence in 1 the formatives 'l', 'i' - belongs to a single category and that categories are not multivalued i. In the rest of the paper we shall concentrate on the consequences of this for a minimalist-type computational system.
Place: Kates Room on the second floor of Warren House. Working memory is considered to be a specialized component of memory that is responsible for the temporary storage and manipulation of information necessary to accomplish a cognitive task. Language processing is an example par excellence of a task that requires temporary storage and manipulation of information, and that therefore provides a domain in which ideas about working memory can be explored.
In this talk, I will review our current studies of the involvement of the working memory system in language processing. These studies suggest a model in which there are several mechanisms that are responsible for temporary storage and manipulation of information related to different aspects of language processing.
Harvard University Indo-European Workshop. These facts about Belfast English can, it will be argued, throw light on some current questions about the nature of expletive structures, the licensing of transitive expletives, and the nature of movement outside the narrow syntax. Belfast English however differs little from standard English in relation to agreement; it certainly does not have richer subject-verb agreement. Moreover, it does not have verb raising to T.
It does have some evidence of object shift, but only for weak pronouns a fact which only shows up in imperatives, the only structures where lexical verbs move out of VP. Thus it behaves much more like Mainland Scandinavian than Icelandic along the dimensions argued to license object shift in the latter but not the former, but nevertheless transitive expletives are possible.
A careful consideration of Belfast English transitive expletives and their relationship to other aspects of the dialect is used to throw some new light on the debate about the licensing of these structures. Another aspect of Belfast English expletives which appears to be significant for current theory, and which unlike transitive expletives does not appear to have been widely studied in other language varieties, is the ability of associates to appear in different positions in the structure - in effect, as shown in 3 - 8 above, they can appear in any intermediate specifier position between the position where they appear in standard English, and the specifier position immediately below that occupied by the expletive.
Examples like 7 appear to present problems for any analysis which seeks to exclude such structures in standard English through a universal constraint such as a preference of Merge over Move because there is clearly a variety which violates such a constraint. The 'movement' of the associate from its base position however shows some characteristics of being movement outside the narrow syntax: the moved associate must be stressed, and is much better if it is quantified, for example. Thus, 6 above is much better than 9 or 10 , which are only grammatical with strong contrastive stress on the associates.
However, if this is movement in the phonology, it is clear that such movement cannot be as highly local or constrained as sometimes envisaged; in particular, there is some evidence that wh-movement can occur from a moved associate:. Instead, the object must first be promoted to subject, as in 2.
In 2 , the verb is marked with Theme Topic morphology. Recent work on Malagasy accounts for the ungrammaticality of 1b by invoking the A-bar status of the subject. In this talk, however, I argue that the ungrammaticality of 1b is due to the fact that there is no derived object position in Malagasy. I also discuss Tagalog and Indonesian and suggest that the same account applies to the former, but not to the latter. Data from binding show that the subject is an A position. Further data show, however, that this "reflexive" is not subject to Condition A it can take a discourse antecedent, for example.
Therefore 3 is not evidence for reconstruction. I also provide evidence from Condition C against the A-bar status of the subject. To account for the lack of object A-bar movement, I draw on Travis , who argues that Malagasy lacks a derived object position. For example, although Malagasy has apparent subject-to-object raising, it can be shown that the final position is not the object of the matrix clause. A pronoun in the apparently derived object position can be coindexed with the matrix subject.
This is not possible for standard direct objects, hence the pronoun in 4 is not in the direct object position. Travis cites further data from applicatives, possessor raising and object shift to support her claim. I follow Travis and propose that the logical object is "trapped" within vP. Economy therefore dictates that an object can never A-bar move past a subject. For languages such as English that allow object wh-movement, the object must first adjoin to vP.
From this position, the subject and the object are equidistant to C. In Malagasy, the only "escape hatch" for object extraction is the grammatical subject position, [Spec, TP]. The object must therefore be promoted to subject with Theme Topic morphology, as in 2. Time permitting, I discuss Tagalog and Indonesian, languages which have similar extraction patterns to Malagasy.
I show that Tagalog lacks derived objects Maclachlan and Nakamura Hence the present analysis accounts for Tagalog. Indonesian, however, does have derived objects. I suggest that the A-bar analysis is appropriate for Indonesian see Soh on Malay. Chomsky, Noam. Derivation by phase. Keenan, Edward Relative clause formation in Malagasy. Chicago: CLS. Maclachlan, Anna and Masanori Nakamura. Case-checking and specificity in Tagalog. Linguistic Review Soh, Hooi-Ling. Certain restrictions on A-bar movement in Malay.
In Recent papers in Austronesian linguistics. Pearson ed. Travis, Lisa. Derived objects in Malagasy. To appear in Objects and other subjects. Davies and S. Dubinsky eds. All N predicates are mass, because nouns, as such, are encyclopedic items without any grammatical structure. Unless given structure, they will acquire none. English and Hebrew, and many other languages does have classifier morphology. The reason plural morphology and classifier morphology do not co-occur is because they range over the same functional value.
So, contrary to common wisdom, plurality is not a number specification or a quantity specification, nor is it a function from singulars. Rather, it is a divisional function on mass. The difference between the classifier system of English and that of Chinese is that while both divide, the latter also defines a possible portion.
Finally, they will pave the way for a unified description of quantity which applies, homomorphically, within the nominal and the aspectual domain, overcoming many of the problems faced by Krifka's , , notion of quantized. Abstract : Tangale phonology is characterized by a complete lack of any syllable internal consonant clusters see Kidda Yet an independent process of final vowel deletion before a following morpheme creates many consonant clusters that would violate this constraint.
CVC a or CC. Kidda proposes that the epenthesis strategy 1a. She argues that epenthesis is blocked in forms like 1b due to a form of geminate integrity. Homorganic sequences are underlyingly linked to a single place node, therefore epenthesis, as in koludmu, would result in a line-crossing violation.
Where epenthesis is blocked, the unsyllabifiable consonant is deleted. Houseboy — Ferdinand Oyono. Toundi Ondoua, the rural African protagonist of Houseboy, encounters a world of prisms that cast beautiful but unobtainable glimmers, especially for a black youth in colonial Cameroon. Houseboy , written in the form of Toundi's captivating diary and translated from the original French, discloses his awe of the white world and a web of unpredictable experiences.
Early on, he escapes his father's angry blows by seeking asylum with his benefactor, the local European priest who meets an untimely death. Toundi then becomes "the Chief European's 'boy'--the dog of the King. Gradually, preconceptions of the Europeans come crashing down on him as he struggles with his identity, his place in society, and the changing culture.
In a prison cell two women meet, thrown together by injustice and violence. One is labelled mad, the other a counterfeiter. One is of French-Jewish origin, the other African. One is old, the other young. Yet they are both hoping for love and as prison life deteriorates, they grow closer. Daba was born in Ouadda, in what is now the Central African Republic. His mother often told him about the terrible dry season that year, when elephants, buffaloes and antelopes stampeded through the countryside in a frenzied search for water.
Even panthers stalked the bush around the village, often carrying innocent sheep. Safe near his parents' hut, Daba listened to the story time and time again. And as he grew, loved and protected, there grew in him a strength of spirit and a deep love for his native village. But Dabawas not destined to live his life in Ouadda.
When he was still a young boy, he left his beloved home on the first of a series of journeys that would lead him farther and farther away - even to France. For Daba's parents wanted him to be educated, a rare and special privilege not often enjoyed by poor village children The life, history and tradition of the people of the Central African Republic are described with great feeling by Bambote, for Daba's Travels is a recollection of his own childhood and youth.
Seemingly the only available book from CAR in English. Njeleulem is an introvert. He values friendship. He has a high standard of ethics. He holds steadfastly to his communal beliefs. His friends mistake his integrity for cowardice and weakness. Aware that yesterday's friends have decayed into today's scoffers, he reacts with confusion and bitterness. Ngarbel, the first friend to betray him, places impediments in Njeleulem's path at every opportunity during their parallel careers.
The two, once good school friends, face each other in deep hostility from their positions as top managers for powerful organizations. Njeleulem's harsh childhood shapes his personality and eventually, his ruin. Ngarbel is rude and aggressive to the core, much like his volatile father. The ending is tragic for these frenemies. Yet this fresh vision brings with it a heightened awareness of the racism, corruption and contradictions that riddle society. Appalled by the hypocrisy he encounters, Dr Mazamba hatches a plan to challenge the status quo while he still can.
But he still undertakes the quest to "challenge the status quo while he still can. Set in the rebellion-torn Zaire of the s, it is the story of a cynical Minister of State and his love for a beautiful prostitute, and the fluctuating balance of power in their relationship as they become enmeshed, both willingly and unwillingly, in the political intrigue and tribal loyalties that will destroy them. This profoundly moving memoir is the remarkable and inspiring true story of Sandra Uwiringyimana, a girl from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who tells the tale of how she survived a massacre, immigrated to America, and overcame her trauma through art and activism.
Sandra was just ten years old when she found herself with a gun pointed at her head. She had watched as rebels gunned down her mother and six-year-old sister in a refugee camp. Thus began a new life for her and her surviving family members. With no home and no money, they struggled to stay alive. Eventually, through a United Nations refugee program, they moved to America, only to face yet another ethnic disconnect. Sandra may have crossed an ocean, but there was now a much wider divide she had to overcome.
And it started with middle school in New York. Tram 83 — Fiston Mujila. In an unnamed African city in secession, profit-seekers of all languages and nationalities mix. They have only one desire: to make a fortune by exploiting the mineral wealth of the land. Two friends — Lucien, a writer with literary ambitions, home from abroad, and his childhood friend Requiem, who dreams of taking over the seedy underworld of their hometown — gather in the most notorious nightclub in town: the Tram Around them gravitate gangsters and young girls, soldiers and stowaways, profit-seeking tourists and federal agents of a non-existent State.
Tram 83 plunges the reader into a modern African gold rush as cynical as it is comic and colourfully exotic. A daring feat of narrative imagination and linguistic creativity, Tram 83 uses the rhythms of jazz to weave a tale of human relationships in a world that has become a global village. Black Moses — Alain Mabanckou. Black Moses is a larger-than-life comic tale of a young man obsessed with helping the helpless in an unjust world.
It is also a vital new extension of Mabanckou's extraordinary, interlinked body of work dedicated to his native Congo, and confirms his status as one of our great storytellers. Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Allah is not Obliged — Ahmadou Kourouma. When Birahima's mother dies, he leaves his native village to search for his aunt Mahan.
Crossing the border into Liberia, he is seized by a rebel force and press-ganged into military service. Fighting in a chaotic civil war, he sees death, torture, amputation and madness, but somehow manages to retain his own sanity. Aya — Marguerite Abouet. Aya tells the story of its nineteen-year-old heroine, the studious and clear-sighted Aya, her easygoing friends Adjoua and Bintou, and their meddling relatives and neighbors.
It's a breezy and wryly funny account of the desire for joy and freedom, and of the simple pleasures and private troubles of everyday life in Yop City.
Search Worlds Without End
An unpretentious and gently humorous story of an Africa we rarely see-spirited, hopeful, and resilient. Kourouma's remarkable novel is narrated by Bingo, a West African sora - storyteller and king's fool. Over the course of five nights he tells the life story of Koyaga, President and Dictator of the Gulf Coast. Orphaned at the age of seven, Koyaga grows up to be a terrible hunter; he fights mythical beasts, and is a shape-shifter, capable of changing himself into beasts and birds.
He fights in the French colonial armies, in Vietnam and Algeria, but on his return he mounts a coup and becomes ruler and dictator of the Gulf Coast. For thirty years he runs a corrupt but 'clean' state, surviving repeated assassination attempts and gaining support and investment from abroad. But when the 'First World' decides it no longer want to support dictatorships and call for democracy, he needs another ruse to maintain himself in power Part magic, part history, part savage satire, Waiting for the Wild Beasts to Vote is nothing less than a history of post-colonial Africa itself.
In a literary reversal as deadly serious as it is wickedly satiric, this novel by the acclaimed French-speaking African writer Abdourahman A. Waberi turns the fortunes of the world upside down. On this reimagined globe a stream of sorry humanity flows from the West, from the slums of America and the squalor of Europe, to escape poverty and desperation in the prosperous United States of Africa. It is in this world that an African doctor on a humanitarian mission to France adopts a child. Her search, at times funny and strange, is also deeply poignant, reminding us at every moment of the turns of fate we call truth.
Transit - Abdourahman A. Waiting at the Paris airport, two immigrants from Djibouti reveal parallel stories of war, child soldiers, arms trafficking, drugs, and hunger. Bashir is recently discharged from the army and wounded, finding himself inside the French Embassy. Harbi, whose wife, Alice, has been killed by the police, is there too--arrested earlier as a political suspect. An embassy official mistakes Bashir for Harbi's son, and as Harbi does not deny it, both will be exiled to France, Alice's home country.
This brilliantly shrewd and cynical universal chronicle of war and exile, translated into English for the first time, amounts to a lyrical and reflective history of Djibouti and its tortuous politics, crippled economy, and devastated moral landscape. From her earliest memories, Firdaus suffered at the hands of men—first her abusive father, then her violent, much older husband, to finally her deceitful boyfriend-turned-pimp. After a lifetime of abuse, she at last takes drastic action against the males ruling her life.
All manner of flawed and fragile humanity reside in the Yacoubian Building, a once-elegant temple of Art Deco splendor now slowly decaying in the smog and bustle of downtown Cairo: a fading aristocrat and self-proclaimed "scientist of women"; a sultry, voluptuous siren; a devout young student, feeling the irresistible pull toward fundamentalism; a newspaper editor helplessly in love with a policeman; a corrupt and corpulent politician, twisting the Koran to justify his desires. These disparate lives careen toward an explosive conclusion in Alaa Al Aswany's remarkable international bestseller.
Teeming with frank sexuality and heartfelt compassion, this book is an important window on to the experience of loss and love in the Arab world. Set in an insane asylum, The Innocence of the Devil is a complex and chilling novel that recasts the relationships of God and Satan, of good and evil. Intertwining the lives of two young women as they discover their sexual and emotional powers, Saadawi weaves a dreamlike narrative that reveals how the patriarchal structures of Christianity and Islam are strikingly similar: physical violation of women is not simply a social or political phenomenon; it is a religious one as well.
Set during the last years of Spanish rule in Equatorial Guinea, Shadows of Your Black Memory presents the voice of a young African man reflecting on his childhood. Through the idealistic eyes of the nameless protagonist, Donato Ndongo portrays the cultural conflicts between Africa and Spain, ancestral worship competing with Catholicism, and tradition giving way to modernity. Donato Ndongo masterfully exposes the cultural fissures of his native land. The Consequences of Love — Sulaiman Adonia. Naser is a young African immigrant who works the carwash in downtown Jeddah.
The long, hot summer has arrived and his friends have left the city. Naser spends his time off sitting beneath the palm tree outside his flat, dreaming of Egyptian actresses, and keeping out of the way of the religious police. In Hannah Pool was adopted from an orphanage in Eritrea and brought to England by her white adoptive father. She grew up unable to imagine what it must be like to look into the eyes of a blood relative until one day a letter arrived from a brother she never knew she had.
Not knowing what to do with the letter, Hannah hid it away. But she was unable to forget it, and ten years later she finally decided to track down her surviving Eritrean family and embarked upon a journey that would take her far from the comfort zone of her metropolitan lifestyle to confront the poverty and oppression of a life that could so easily have been her own.
Eswatini Formerly Swaziland. When the Ground is Hard — Malla Nunn. Adele Joubert loves being one of the popular girls at Keziah Christian Academy. She knows the upcoming semester at school is going to be great with her best friend Delia at her side. Then Delia dumps her for a new girl with more money, and Adele is forced to share a room with Lottie, the school pariah, who doesn't pray and defies teachers' orders.
But as they share a copy of Jane Eyre , Lottie's gruff exterior and honesty grow on Adele, and Lottie learns to be a little sweeter. Together, they take on bullies and protect each other from the vindictive and prejudiced teachers. Then a boy goes missing on campus and Adele and Lottie must rely on each other to solve the mystery and maybe learn the true meaning of friendship. His father, Hailu, a prominent doctor, has been ordered to report to jail after helping a victim of state-sanctioned torture to die.
Seventeen years ago, Sepha Stephanos fled the Ethiopian Revolution after witnessing soldiers beat his father to the point of certain death, selling off his parents' jewelry to pay for passage to the United States. Now he finds himself running a grocery store in a poor African-American neighborhood in Washington, D. His only companions are two fellow African immigrants who share his feelings of frustration with and bitter nostalgia for their home continent.
He realizes that his life has turned out completely different and far more isolated from the one he had imagined for himself years ago. Cutting for Stone — Abraham Verghese. Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Yet it will be love, not politics—their passion for the same woman—that will tear them apart and force Marion, fresh out of medical school, to flee his homeland.
He makes his way to America, finding refuge in his work as an intern at an underfunded, overcrowded New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him—nearly destroying him—Marion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least in the world: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him. I debated on whether to include this book in my list because Verghese is of Indian origin, born and raised in Ethiopia but now identifies as an American physician and author…mmhh…..
Mema — Daniel Mengara. Mema's sharp tongue and apparent barrenness makes her a target for dislike and disapproval in her village. When she finally succeeds in having four children, her husband dies in a witchdoctor's haven, followed by her daughters. Her in-laws accuse her of being a wicked witch who sacrificed her husband and children to the dark forces. In spite of this Mema's strength and courage cause her to fight for her sons and her family's rights.
In this story of a practical African society her actions owe nothing to Western feminism and the theme of struggle against colonialism is left behind in favour of a struggle between new and old values.
The author demonstrates that a story relating the impact of psychological and social forces on Africans can also focus mainly on conflicts within African society. Emilienne's active search for feminism on her own terms is tangled up with cultural expectations and taboos of motherhood, marriage, polygamy, divorce, and passion. She completes her university studies in Paris; marries a man from another ethnic group; becomes a leader in women's liberation; enjoys professional success, even earning more than her husband; and eventually takes a female lover.
Yet still she remains unsatisfied. Those closest to her, and even she herself, constantly question her role as woman, wife, mother, and lover. The tragic death of her only child--her daughter Rekia--accentuates Emilienne's anguish, all the more so because of her subsequent barrenness and the pressure that she concede to her husband's taking a second wife.
In her forceful portrayal of one woman's life in Central Africa in the late s, Rawiri prompts us not only to reconsider our notions of African feminism and the canon of francophone African women's writing but also to expand our awareness of the issues women face across the world today in the workforce, in the bedroom, and among family and peers. Reading the Ceiling — Dayo Forster. Ayodele has just turned eighteen and has decided, having now reached womanhood that the time is right to lose her virginity.
She's drawn up a shortlist: Reuben, the failsafe; a long-admired school friend; and Frederick Adams, the year-old, soon-to-be-pot-bellied father of her best friend. What she doesn't know is that her choice of suitor will have a drastic effect on the rest of her life. Three men. Three paths. One will send Ayodele to Europe, to university and to a very different life - but it will be a voyage strewn with heartache.
Another will send her around the globe on an epic journey, transforming her beyond recognition but at the cost of an almost unbearable loss. And another will see her remain in Africa, a wife and mother caught in a polygamous marriage. Each will change her irrevocably - but which will she choose? This book has been on my TBR for years now! I love the synopsis. Out of Africa with her degree and her all-seeing eyes comes Sissie.
She comes to Europe, to a land of towering mountains and low grey skies and tries to make sense of it all. What is she doing here? Why aren't the natives friendly? And what will she do when she goes back home? Ghanaian writer Ama Ata Aidoo's brilliantly conceived prose poem is by turns bitter and gentle, and is a highly personal exploration of the conflicts between Africa and Europe, between men and women and between a complacent acceptance of the status quo and a passionate desire to reform a rotten world.
Homegoing — Yaa Gyasi. Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle's dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast's booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery.
One thread of Homegoing follows Effia's descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.
Aminah lives an idyllic life until she is brutally separated from her home and forced on a journey that turns her from a daydreamer into a resilient woman. Wurche, the willful daughter of a chief, is desperate to play an important role in her father's court. These two women's lives converge as infighting among Wurche's people threatens the region, during the height of the slave trade at the end of the 19th century. Set in pre-colonial Ghana, The Hundred Wells of Salaga is a story of courage, forgiveness, love and freedom. Through the experiences of Aminah and Wurche, it offers a remarkable view of slavery and how the scramble for Africa affected the lives of everyday people.
Ghana Must Go — Taiye Selasi. Kweku Sai is dead. A renowned surgeon and failed husband, he succumbs suddenly at dawn outside his home in suburban Accra. Ghana Must Go is their story. Electric, exhilarating, beautifully crafted, Ghana Must Go is a testament to the transformative power of unconditional love, from a debut novelist of extraordinary talent.
The eldest son and his wife; the mysterious, beautiful twins; the baby sister, now a young woman: each carries secrets of his own. What is revealed in their coming together is the story of how they came apart: the hearts broken, the lies told, the crimes committed in the name of love.
Splintered, alone, each navigates his pain, believing that what has been lost can never be recovered—until, in Ghana, a new way forward, a new family, begins to emerge. The Dark Child — Camara Laye. Long regarded Africa's preeminent Francophone novelist, Laye herein marvels over his mother's supernatural powers, his father's distinction as the village goldsmith, and his own passage into manhood, which is marked by animistic beliefs and bloody rituals of primeval origin. Eventually, he must choose between this unique place and the academic success that lures him to distant cities.
More than autobiography of one boy, this is the universal story of sacred traditions struggling against the encroachment of a modern world. A passionate and deeply affecting record, The Dark Child is a classic of African literature. The King of Kahel — Tierno Monenembo. Tierno Monenembo's The King of Kahel was originally published in France in and was the winner of the French literary prize, the prix Renaudot , which is awarded to the author of an outstanding original novel.
Loosely based on the life of Olivier de Sanderval, a man who journeyed to Guinea to build an empire by conquering the hostile region of Fouta Djallon, the book exposes how Sanderval braves all dangers to build a railway that will bring modern civilization to Africa. The Ultimate Tragedy — Abdulai Sila. The first novel to be translated into English from Guinea Bissau , The Ultimate Tragedy is a tale of love and emerging political awareness in an Africa beginning to challenge Portuguese colonial rule.
Ndani leaves her village to seek a better life in the capital, finding work as a maid for a Portuguese family. The mistress of the house, Dona Deolinda, embarks on a mission to save Ndani's soul through religious teaching, but the master of the house has less righteous intentions. Ndani is expelled from the house and drifts towards home, where she becomes the wife of a village chief. He has built a mansion and a school to flaunt his power to the local Portuguese administrator, but he abandons Ndani when he finds she's not a virgin. She eventually finds love with the school's teacher, but in tumultuous times, making a future with an educated black man involves a series of hurdles.
By turns humorous, heartrending and wise, The Ultimate Tragedy is a captivating novel that brings this little-known country to colourful, vivid life.