image Resolve and Dissolution

By Tade Ipadeola


  • Title: Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun
  • Author: Sarah Ladipo Manyika
  • Publisher: Cassava Republic Press
  • Number of pages: 118
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Fiction

The newest novel by Sarah Ladipo Manyika tackles the human phenomenon of ageing and loss. It begins in an old house far away in San Francisco. It is a house that has survived significant stretches of time and even earthquakes. The novel ends in the same city, in a fast, low car fondly named Buttercup by its owner, the heroine of the tale. In between the opening movements of the novel and the denouement, the reader is taken on a wide-ranging journey through literal time zones and through varying geographies. The tale touches India and Nigeria, it touches French and Yorùbá, it slaloms through passages of love and perfumed mists rising from the wake of obdurate passion, it pants as a determined, quixotic, mule dripping with voluptuous confectionery meant for a sizzling, enigmatic sun. More…

image A Review of Glowfly Dance

By Agatha Aduro


  • Title: Glowfly Dance
  • Author: Jade Gibson
  • Publisher: Umuzi
  • Number of pages: 438
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Fiction

People think that when you are fourteen you know nothing, but I have seen so much, I have a thousand stories, burning and shining and rising within me, and all I can do is try to catch them, one by one, because I only have the moments, fading in and out, when everything else is gone (p 7).

This is how Jade Gibson introduces us to Mai, the major protagonist of Glowfly Dance. The entire first chapter is an innocuous, nearly idyllic introduction to the book, and it speaks of glowflies, the smell of blood oranges and of dancing and cherry blossoms. The reader is completely in the dark regarding the horrors that are lurking in the subsequent chapters. More…

image Repetitions in a Gory History

By Adebiyi Olusolape


  • Title: After They Left
  • Author: Edify Yakusak
  • Publisher: Kurdan Publishing
  • Number of pages: 244
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Fiction

Damaging and deeply painful, the history and contemporary reality of communal violence in Nigeria has generated not only loss and then more loss but also discussions, critical debate over terms like ‘settlers’ and ‘indigenes’, over ‘animist’, ‘atheist’, ‘christian’ as well as ‘muslim’. Every bout of violence warrants an historical excursion to the last time there was a ‘crisis’, a ‘riot’, a ‘clash’ as well as the crisis/ riot/ clash before that last clash/ riot/ crisis. More…

image The King’s Wages: The Semiotics of Trust in a Matrilineal Society

By Emeka Ugwu


  • Title: The King’s Wages
  • Author: Augustine Brempong
  • Publisher: Langaa RPCIG
  • Number of pages: 140
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Drama

‘Literature is, for us, in fact, a social discourse, (because it) is in varying degrees, defined and controlled by the social institutions within which it is embedded’. – A L Oyeleye

‘Trust, by which I mean confidence that others will do the “right” thing despite a clear balance of incentives to the contrary, emerges, if it does, in the context of a social network’. – Mark Gravonetter

Impelled in part by his ‘own struggle to make sense of the persistent and apparently insoluble political and economic problem’ that Italy faced over the century after it became a politically united nation, the social scientist, Diego Gambetta, talks about ‘a series of seminars – held in King’s College, Cambridge – to discuss the elusive nature of trust’. These seminars, involving scholars from the various social sciences, were held between 1985 and 1986. More…

image A Journey into Loss, Almost Winning and Saudade

By Agbonmire Ifeh


  • Title: The Seed Thief
  • Author: Jacqui L’Ange
  • Publisher: Umuzi
  • Number of pages: 320
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Fiction

Maddy Bellani’s life is in serious turmoil. She has been losing in almost every aspect of her life except her work. She is estranged from her father. Her mother is dead. Her boyfriend is a cheat, and she has ended the relationship. However, she is obsessed with plants and seeds, and she is a botanist. In her own words, ‘I need green’ (p 16). More…

image Rótìmí

By Jumoke Verissimo


  • Title: Stay with Me
  • Author: Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
  • Publisher: Ouida Books
  • Number of pages: 306
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Fiction

For many newly-weds, aside from the many domestic variables, a vital hope for the marriage is that the bride will get pregnant at the expected time, as the expectation is that children will come. Well, until they do not come. This then becomes the problem that weaves the family in an emotional tangle. The couple, their relatives and even their friends cannot escape the discomfiture of proffering and/or listening to solutions that range from the absolutely ridiculous to the medically untenable. This unspeakable sorrow of childless couples who desire children is the pivot of Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀’s debut novel, Stay with Me. In it, she tells a gripping story, exploring the anxieties of childlessness, weaving that around the themes of sickle-cell disease, love and superstition, all with an effusive display of Yoruba culture. More…

image What about Meera?

By Tolu Akinwole


  • Title: What about Meera
  • Author: Z P Dala
  • Publisher: Umuzi
  • Number of pages: 256
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Fiction

What about Meera is not a question; it is a fervent quest for the place of the socially marginalised in the scheme of things. What about Meera is not a question; it is a witty record of the palpitations of broken hearts and broken dreams. What about Meera is not a question; it is a determined unearthing of buried sherds, tracing the quotidian struggles of the peasant Indians of Tongaat (‘in rich detail’, the blurb adds). Z P Dala’s debut offering follows the escape of a young, South African woman of Indian descent from Durban to Dublin in search of life and love. More…

image The Naguib Mahfouz Reader: Portrait of a Novelist as a Historian

By Emeka Ugwu


  • Title: The Naguib Mahfouz Reader
  • Editor: Denys Johnson-Davies
  • Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press
  • Number of pages: 327
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Fiction and Autobiography

‘You can’t understand Egypt without Mahfouz – without his characters, with whom every reader, Arab or not, can identify’. – Tahar Ben Jelloun

‘The older distinction between fiction and history [must] give place to the recognition that we can only know the actual by contrasting it with or likening it to the imaginable’. – Hayden White

Edited by Denys Johnson-Davies, whom the cultural critic and public intellectual Edward Said described as ‘the leading Arabic-English translator of our time’, The Naguib Mahfouz Reader starts an unwitting reader out on a heady journey straight into the heart of modern Egypt. It is a book that houses English translations of a small selection of short stories, excerpts of novels and autobiographical works by the Egyptian Nobel Laureate, Naguib Mahfouz. The collection showcases writings that span six decades, from 1944 to 2004. More…

image Of the Crescent and the Crown

By Tolu Akinwole


  • Title: The Televangelist
  • Author: Ibrahim Essa
  • Translator: Jonathan Wright
  • Publisher: Hoopoe
  • Number of pages: 483
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Fiction

In keeping with the need, in this age, for thorough intellectual scrutiny of dearly held beliefs, Ibrahim Essa deploys his novel, The Televangelist, as a means of examining and contesting the hegemony of Islamic ideology in twenty-first-century Egypt. Crammed into the 483-paged novel is a fusion of Islamic theology and socio-political analysis with a double dose of wit, as expected of the satire that it is. Engaging the reader on these levels, Essa lays out his own thesis on religion and the State’s involvement in it. More…

image Remembering Highlife

By Dami Ajayi


  • Title: Highlife Giants: West African Dance Band Pioneers
  • Author: John Collins
  • Publisher: Cassava Republic Press
  • Number of pages: 320
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Music

The West African phenomenon, Highlife music, is many things to many people. To some, it is a colonial legacy. To others, it is an abiding aesthetic. Yet to some, it is dance music for wiggling derrières, perhaps the finest that came out of West Africa in the period spanning about twenty-five years on both sides of colonial independence. More…