Half of a Yellow Sun is a story of independence, war, betrayal and loss both for a nation and for a particular group of people swept up in it all. Set in the 1960s, it examines life in Nigeria on the eve of war and then during the chaos and violence of the Biafran war. While providing concise historical background on Nigeria and Biafra, Adichie, through her characters, shows how class division, race, culture, and gender fed into and were in turn influenced by conflict. This is a painful story to read, yet it is full of passion and truth, […]
This YA novel has turned into a bestseller and has generated a lot of positive buzz. Angie Thomas, with her first novel, boldly takes on racism and police shootings through the eyes of 16-year-old Starr Carter. Starr is an engaging narrator who straddles two different worlds that will collide, forcing her to make hard choices about who she is and what she ought to be doing. We meet Starr on the night “it” happens. It’s spring break and Starr is at a house party in her neighborhood, Garden Heights. There she runs into one of her oldest friends Khalil. They’ve […]
Broken Verses is a gripping novel about love and loss with a mystery at its core. The protagonist, Aasmaani, is a 31-year-old woman living in Karachi, Pakistan. She has gained some renown due to the fact that her mother Samina was a famous women’s rights activist who left her husband (Aasmaani’s father) to take up with a revolutionary poet while Aasmaani was an infant. The Poet (as he was known in Pakistan) was killed 16 years ago, presumably by government forces in retaliation for his criticisms of the regime. Samina disappeared two years after the Poet’s death. Now Aasmaani is […]
Y’all. Y’all. Maybe I wasn’t the target audience for this book but it was so bad.
Tayari Jones’ Silver Sparrow is an engrossing novel about sisters and secrecy. Set in 1980s Atlanta, its focus is on a dysfunctional and disintegrated family. Our first narrator, Dana Yarboro, writes from an adult perspective about her childhood and teenaged years as the secret daughter of one James Witherspoon. Our second narrator, Chaurisse Witherspoon, is James’ daughter by his legally recognized wife Laverne. Jones uses her prodigious writing talents to create sympathetic and complex but very human characters as well as an intricate and compelling plot. The reader knows from early that a life-changing confrontation is in the making. This […]
I think a few Cannonballers reviewed the Monstress series last year, and when I saw volume one at the local comic book store, the art was so beautiful I decided to make the purchase. The art is truly stunning, a combination of anime and Art Deco (the blurb on the back says Art Deco, but I think it looks a bit Nouveau; maybe elements of both). The story itself is complicated and involves a variety of races of creatures that have a complex history together. At the center of the story is a teenaged female named Maika Halfwolf, who is […]
In the beginning was the world. And it was weird. The One Hundred Nights of Hero is Isabel Greenberg’s second graphic novel and, apparently, a spin off from her first The Encyclopedia of Early Earth. The tale, or rather tales, since this is a story involving some amazing storytellers, takes place in Early Earth, and Early Earth was itself created by a girl named Kiddo. Kiddo is the daughter of the god Birdman, who created and lords over many other worlds and galaxies, but once he sees that his daughter has made something, he butts in to “improve” it — […]
I love the concept of Joyce Carol Oates. I mean first of all the name! What a splendid name, intricate, commanding with a rhythm like a poem. Joyce Carol Oates cannot be anything other than a writer. And she churns out novels like she’s a novel factory turning sausages into full-blown novels over and over, doesn’t matter what genre, Joyce makes the sausage! But I didn’t like little bird of heaven. In fact it is my first DNF – something I did not anticipate after the first chapter that was delicious, rich and salacious (yes all those things). Here we […]