In 1936, a young dreamer named Edmond Charlot opened a modest bookshop in Algiers. Once the heart of Algerian cultural life, where Camus launched his first book and the Free French printed propaganda during the war, Charlot's beloved bookshop has been closed for decades, living on as a government lending library. Now it is to be shuttered forever. But as a young man named Ryad empties it of its books, he begins to understand that a bookshop can be much more than just a shop that sells books.
A Bookshop in Algiers charts the changing fortunes of Charlot's bookshop through the polit... continue
The award-winning and haunting novel from Rodrigo Hasbún, the literary star Jonathan Safran Foer calls, “a great writer,” about an unusual family’s breakdown—set in South America during the time of Che Guevara and inspired by the life of Third Reich cinematographer Hans Ertl. Inspired by real events, Affections is the story of the eccentric, fascinating Ertl clan, headed by the egocentric and extraordinary Hans, once the cameraman for the Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl. Shortly after the end of World War II, Hans and his family flee to Bolivia to start over. There, the ever-restless Hans d... continue
Alta, Zaya, Nara, Oyuna and Dolgorna - a mother, three sisters, and the teenage daughter of one of the sisters - each tell their pieces of the family story, an epic fraught with secrets and betrayals, in All This Belongs to Me, the debut novel of Petra Hulova. All This Belongs to Me transports the reader from Mongolia's harsh, dusty steppe to the clamor and grime of the capital, Ulaanbantar; from nomanic herding and felt tents to brothels and prefab apartment blocks. With a filmic eye and a dead-on ear, Hulova vividly conveys the landscapes and lives of three generations of women. Two of the s... continue
At the dawn of the twenty-first century, villages in the Fang region of northern Gabon must grapple with the clash of tradition and the evolution of customs throughout modern Africa. With this tension in the background, the passionate, deft, and creative seamstress Awu marries Obame, after he and his beloved wife, Bella, have been unable to conceive. Because all three are reluctant participants in this arrangement, theirs is an emotionally fraught existence. Through heartbreaking and disastrous events, Awu grapples with long-standing Fang customs that counter her desire to take full control of... continue
“Aya is an irresistible comedy, a couple of love stories and a tale for becoming African. It’s essential reading.” —Joann Sfar, cartoonist of The Rabbi’s Cat Ivory Coast, 1978. It’s a golden time, and the nation, too—an oasis of affluence and stability in West Africa—seems fueled by something wondrous. Aya is loosely based upon Marguerite Abouet’s youth in Yop City. It is the story of the studious and clear-sighted nineteen-year-old Aya, her easygoing friends Adjoua and Bintou, and their meddling relatives and neighbors. It’s a wryly funny, breezy account of the simple pleasures and private tr... continue
These five rich, witty and magical stories from the author of Out of Africa include one of her most well known tales, ‘Babette’s Feast’, which was made into the classic film. It tells the story of a French cook working in a puritanical Norwegian community, who treats her employers to the decadent feast of a lifetime. There is also a real-life Prospero and his Ariel in ‘Tempests’, a mysterious pearl-fisher in ‘The Diver’ and a brief, tragic encounter in ‘The Ring’. All the stories have a mystic, fairy-tale quality, linked by themes of angels, the sea, dreams and fate. They were among the last t... continue
Behind the bar at Jameel's in Cairo hang two mugs engraved with the names of Ram and Font. During their years together in London, they drank many a pint of Bass from these mugs. But there is no Bass in Nasser's Egypt, so Ram and Font have to make do with a heady mixture of beer, vodka and whisky. Yearning for Bass they long to be far from a revolution that neither serves the people nor allows their rich aunts to live the life of leisure they are accustomed to. Stranded between two cultures, Ram and Font must choose between dangerous political opposition and reluctant acquiescence. First publis... continue