More than 850 book reviews

Tag Archive for ‘Africa’

It’s hard to beat this political thriller

Briarpatch, by Ross Thomas @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Ross Thomas‘ first novel, The Cold War Swap, was published in 1967. It won the Edgar Allen Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America for the best first novel of that year. As the crime writer Lawrence Block relates in his introduction to the Kindle… Read More ›

Charm in abundance at the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

Precious and Grace (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency #17), by Alexander McCall Smith @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Precious Ramotswe is a “traditionally built” woman who founded and runs the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. She is known throughout Botswana’s capital, Gaborone, for her wisdom and her street smarts. She is also reflective, unfailingly kind,… Read More ›

A satisfying thriller set in Zimbabwe

A review of The Death of Rex Nhongo: A Novel, by C. B. George @@@@ (4 out of 5) The Death of Rex Nhongo is framed as a thriller, but its primary value (at least to me) is the intimate portrait it paints of Zimbabwe today. The setting: Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare Zimbabwe, as you are… Read More ›

The deadliest hurricane in history?

A review of Isaac’s Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History, by Erik Larson @@@@ (4 out of 5) Isaac’s Storm is a detailed account of a massive hurricane that struck the coast of Texas in September 1900. The storm wreaked havoc across a wide swath of the country but devastated… Read More ›

African Roots through African eyes

Homegoing: A Novel, by Yaa Gyasi @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Yaa Gyasi’s extraordinary debut novel, Homegoing, traces the story of a Ghanaian family over more than two centuries through the lives of two branches of its descendants, one in Ghana, the other in the United States. The book opens in the mid-eighteenth century, when… Read More ›

Living the African-American experience

A review of The Black Calhouns: From Civil War to Civil Rights with One African American Family, by Gail Lumet Buckley @@@ (3 out of 5) Gail Lumet Buckley’s The Black Calhouns isn’t easy to pigeonhole. Part Black history, part genealogy, and part memoir, the connecting tissue in the book is the story of the… Read More ›

The existential threat of contagious disease

A review of Pandemic: Tracking Contagions from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond, by Sonia Shah @@@@@ (5 out of 5) To judge from the over-the-top rhetoric on display among the Republican candidates in the 2016 Presidential primary campaign, many millions of Americans live in abject fear of immigration, terrorism, and having their guns taken away…. Read More ›

A terrific novel for political junkies about Africa

A review of The Seersucker Whipsaw, by Ross Thomas @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Clint Shartelle is a honey-tongued Southerner who wears impeccable three-piece suits and drinks like a fish. (Waitaminnit! Do fish actually drink? Whatever.) Shartelle claims to be one sixty-fourth Native American, one-twelfth African-American, and the country’s best political campaign manager. Apparently, he… Read More ›

You’ll love this charming little novel about lady detectives

A review of The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine (#1 Ladies Detective Agency 16), by Alexander McCall Smith @@@@ (4 out of 5) Several years ago the BBC and HBO co-produced a short-lived television series based on the #1 Ladies Detective Agency series. If your impression of those books and the characters featured in them… Read More ›

African writers aren’t all world-class

A review of The African Equation, by Yasmina Khadra @@ (2 out of 5) Here’s a story that could have been worked into a terrific novel in the hands of a writer with a trifle of self-restraint. Unfortunately, Yasmina Khadra, reputedly one of Africa’s greatest writers, displays none of that. Every one of his characters,… Read More ›