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Tiny Sunbirds Far Away
by Christie Watson (Quercus, R129)
Blessing lives in a flat in Lagos, Nigeria, with her parents. Her father is an accountant at a big firm in the city and they lead relatively comfortable lives.
Blessing’s existence is turned on its head when her father abandons his family for another woman and her mother loses her job.
She and her mother are forced to leave the home she has grown up in and move to her grandfather’s compound in the countryside.
The troubled Niger Delta is the setting for this coming-of-age story. It is the story of a family trying to piece together a life in a fractured, dangerous and alien world.
“Tiny Sunbirds Far Away” is a funny, heartbreaking and politically astute novel that should be read.
by Teju Cole (Faber and Faber, R124)
A young Nigerian doctor wanders aimlessly through the streets of Manhattan.
Walking is a cathartic experience for Julius who is surrounded by the sterile regimented environment of a hospital for most of his day.
Walking offers him a chance to consider his past and present – a chance to ruminate and analyse.
As he walks, Julius comes into contact with people from different cultures and classes – each provides insight on his journey.
It’s a journey that will take him to Brussels, the Nigeria of his youth, and to the deepest parts of his soul.
This is a debut novel for Teju Cole and it promises to be a great read.
Gillespie and I
by Jane Harris (Faber and Faber, R124)
The time is 1933. The place is London.
Harriet Baxter has lived a troubled existence for a time because of the mystery surrounding her life with the Gillespie family.
Decades earlier, a young Harriet arrives in Glasgow for the international exhibition.
She is an art lover of independent means.
Soon she becomes friend and champion to the up- and-coming painter, Ned Gillespie.
As she gets to know his somewhat troubled family, she finds herself drawn to them and becomes a fixture in their lives.
But when tragedy strikes the Gillespies, her connection with them disintegrates into mystery, deception and accusations.
Now, Harriet is determined to set the record straight.
by Brian Freeman (Quercus, R184)
Chris’s only child, Olivia, lives with his ex-wife in a small town in Minnesota.
Olivia is accused of murder... and she looks guilty.
Chris is desperate to believe she is innocent and so sets out to prove it.
When he arrives in Minnesota, he finds two towns at war – Barron, a town made prosperous by a chemical works there; and St Croix, the town downriver where his daughter lives and where the chemical works is believed to have brought a mysterious cancer.
Olivia and the girl she is accused of murdering are at the centre of the feud.
As Chris tries to save his daughter he realises he knows nothing about her and if he wants to defend her, he has to learn everything about her.
As the people of Barron bay for her blood, Chris races to save her.
The Story of Astronomy
by Peter Aughton (Quercus, R154)
“The Story of Astronomy” charts the discoveries made by some of the greatest minds in human history as they tried to unveil the secrets of the stars.
It demystifies some of the biggest breakthroughs in the history of science and it explains the simpler things, like why there are 60 minutes in an hour.
And it is all written in an accessible style. - Meneesha Govender