Are you a readaholic? Or an occassional reader? Here are five interesting novels that will tickle your fancy with their different and extremely engaging story plots.
1. Coconut – Kopano Matlwa
Coconut is a coming of age tale of two girls from different worlds. Ofilwe is the typical little rich girl, whose life of affluence is often taken for granted by her. Whilst Fiks is from a below average background who yearns for the city life. Set in modern day South Africa, the novel offers themes of race, class and need to discover true self. Written by Kopano Matlwa, a young doctorate holder who has now delved into the world of literature. She offers wit and invites readers to the world of the characters through the first person narrative, and her constant intertwining of the two characters into one another. Kopano Matlwa has a second novel titled, Split Milk which targets some of the themes in Coconut.
2. The Opposite House – Helen Oyeyemi
The Opposite House is a complex mix of mythology and reality. The story focuses on a young Cuban singer named Maja, who migrated to London England as an infant with her family. She has forgotten everything about her rich country of origin, even the native Spanish language. But she is somehow drawn to it by her mother’s devotion to the Santeria religion of catholicism and Ifa divination. On the other hand, readers are introduced to an enigmatic goddess called Yemaya or Aya for short, who lives in the somewhere house with two doors: one to Lagos and one to London. The story plot is heavy on this path of myth being reality and reality being myth, likewise a sense of self and origin in relation to Maja. Written by British Nigerian, Helen Oyeyemi who thrilled literature lovers and critics with her debut The Icarus Girl, the novel employs wit and fine metaphorical style of writing, with many words of African wisdom.
3. Small Island – Andrea Levy
Small Island is based on four main characters: Hortense, Queenie, Gilbert and Bernard and the story is told from their points of view. Set in 1948, the aftermath of the Second World War. It focuses on Jamaican immigrants who escaped economic hardship to England, the Mother Country as fondly called till this day. Their reception is not quite the warmth they had anticipated. The plot also focuses on how these four characters get involved with each other and how they have to come to terms with that fact. The novel has won the Orange Prize along with a host of other literature awards, and in 2009 it was also made into a mini series by the BBC. Andrea Levy has written another novel called The Long Song.
4. Waiting For An Angel – Helon Habila
Waiting For An Angel is about Lomba, young journalist living under military rule in Lagos, Nigeria. His mind is full of soul music and girls and the lyric novel he is writing. But his roommate is brutally attacked by soldiers; his first love is forced to marry a wealthy old man; and his neighbors on Poverty Street are planning a demonstration that is bound to incite riot and arrests. Lomba can no longer bury his head in the sand. Inspired by the Abacha regime of the 90s and a political rhetoric, likewise a good source for Nigeria’s contemporary history. Written by the brilliant Helon Habila, who also wrote Measuring Time and Oil On Water,the novel has gone on to win the 2001 Caine Prize for African Writing.
5. Annie John – Jamaica Kincaid
Annie John tells the story of an adored only child, Annie who once lived an idyllic life in the small Caribbean island of Antigua. She is inseparable from her beautiful mother, a powerful presence, who is the very centre of the little girl’s existence. Loved and cherished, Annie grows and thrives within her mother’s shadow. As she comes of age, she begins to question the cultural assumptions of her island world; at school she instinctively rebels against authority; and most frighteningly, her mother, seeing Annie as a “young lady,” ceases to be the source of unconditional adoration and takes on the new and unfamiliar guise of discipline. Written by Antiguan author Jamaica Kincaid, the story focuses on a universal, tragic, and often comic and tragic theme: the loss of childhood.by