…a…tale, set in Afghanistan, California, Paris and the Greek islands. And The Mountains Echoed is a story about…the siblings Abdullah and Pari, separated at a young age. Early on in the book, a young Abdullah thinks that he would rather forget Pari than be haunted by her memory…
Darling promises her mother that she will come home for a visit soon, even though she knows she won’t because she doesn’t have the proper paperwork to return to America again. She misses the friends she grew up with, but at the same time feels estranged from them. One of them, Chipo, tells her on a Skype call that she can’t refer to Zimbabwe as her country anymore, since she treated it as a burning house and ran away from it instead of trying to put out the flames: “Darling, my dear, you left the house burning and you have the guts to tell me, in that stupid accent that you were not even born with, that doesn’t even suit you, that this is your country?”
more about this first novel, here.
…a hearse stops. Two men slide out a coffin and a limp body, and they leave. The limp body eventually comes to life: It’s a young man, a black South African who has been transported across the border into Botswana. A refugee, he looks up to see a thin, ghost-like dog sitting next to him. As the man begins to walk, in search of food and a place to sleep, the white dog follows him.
“I think I’m ridiculously fortunate. I consider myself a Nigerian—that’s home, my sensibility is Nigerian. But I like America, and I like that I can spend time in America. But, you know, I look at the world through Nigerian eyes, and I am happiest when I am in Nigeria. I feel most—I question myself the least in Nigeria. You know, I don’t think of myself as anything like a ‘global citizen’ or anything of the sort. I am just a Nigerian who’s comfortable in other places.”
more from a conversation (audio and text) with the author, here.
Since the news from Cleveland broke earlier this week, I have been thinking about Emma Donoghue’s novel “Room.” Published in the autumn of 2010, “Room” is narrated by a five-year-old boy named Jack who, along with his twenty-six-year-old mother—“Ma”—is imprisoned in a one-room structure by a man referred to only as Old Nick. Jack is the product of rape, but his mother strives to keep the truth of their situation from him, maintaining the illusion that their eleven-foot-by-eleven-foot prison is the extent of the real world…
…all the markers of a novel written in the…Southern gothic tradition…references…to race, poverty, the blues, voodoo and an ill-fated brothel…the Southern literati have raised an eyebrow at its author: Bill Cheng, a 29-year-old Chinese-American from Queens who has never set foot in Mississippi.
It appears that gradually, over time, [Wikipedia] editors have begun the process of moving women, one by one, alphabetically, from the ‘American Novelists’ category to the ‘American Women Novelists’ subcategory…The intention appears to be to create a list of ‘American Novelists’ on Wikipedia that is made up almost entirely of men. The category lists 3,837 authors, and the first few hundred of them are mainly men. The explanation at the top of the page is that the list of ‘American Novelists’ is too long, and therefore the novelists have to be put in subcategories whenever possible. Too bad there isn’t a subcategory for ‘American Men Novelists.’