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11 BOOKS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2014

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1.      Radiance of Tomorrow - Ishmael Beah Former Sierra Leonean child soldier, Ishmael Beal’s first novel - Radiance of Tomorrow is centred on Benjamin and Bockarie, two long-time friends who return to their hometown, Imperi, after the civil war. The village is in ruins, the ground covered in bones. As more villagers begin to come back, Benjamin and Bockarie try to forge a new community by taking up their former posts as teachers, but they’re beset by obstacles: a scarcity of food; a rash of murders, thievery, rape, and retaliation; and the depredations of a foreign mining company intent on sullying the town’s water supply and blocking its paths with electric wires. As Benjamin and Bockarie search for a way to restore order, they’re forced to reckon with the uncertainty of their past and future alike. Radiance of Tomorrow Published: January 7th, 2014. 2.      The Secret History of Las Vegas: A Novel - Chris Abani Nigerian novelist, poet, professor & musician, Chris Abani’s fourth novel – The Secret History of Las Vegasl follows Las Vegas detective Salazar (who’s about to retire) determination to solve a recent spate of murders. When he encounters a pair of conjoined twins with a container of blood near their car, he’s sure he has apprehended the killers, and enlists the help of Dr. Sunil Singh, a South African transplant who specializes in the study of psychopaths. As Sunil tries to crack the twins, the implications of his research grow darker. Haunted by his betrayal of loved ones back home during apartheid, he seeks solace in the love of Asia, a prostitute with hopes of escaping that life. But Sunil’s own troubled past is fast on his heels in the form of a would-be assassin. It has already been described as his most accomplished work. The Secret History of Las Vegas Published: January 7th, 2014. 3.      Foreign Gods, Inc. - Okey Ndibe Foreign Gods, Inc. tells the story of Ike, a New York-based Nigerian cab driver who sets out to steal the statue of an ancient war deity from his home village and sell it to a New York gallery. Ike's plan is fuelled by desperation. Despite a degree in economics from a major American college, his strong accent has barred him from the corporate world. Forced to eke out a living as a cab driver, he is unable to manage the emotional and material needs of a temperamental African American bride and a widowed mother demanding financial support. When he turns to gambling, his mounting losses compound his woes. And so he travels back to Nigeria to steal the statue, where he has to deal with old friends, family, and a mounting conflict between those in the village who worship the deity, and those who practice Christianity. Written by Nigerian novelist, political columnist and essayist, Okey Ndibe; Foreign Gods, Inc. is his second novel.   Published: January 14th, 2014 4.      Dust - Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor The 2003 Caine Prize for African Writing Kenyan author, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor debuts her novel, Dust – about Odidi Oganda, who is running for his life, is gunned down in the streets of Nairobi. His grief-stricken sister, Ajany, just returned from Brazil, and their father brings his body back to their crumbling home in the Kenyan drylands, seeking some comfort and peace. But the murder has stirred memories long left untouched and unleashed a series of unexpected events: Odidi and Ajany’s mercurial mother flees in a fit of rage; a young Englishman arrives at the Ogandas’ house, seeking his missing father; a hardened policeman who has borne witness to unspeakable acts re-opens a cold case; and an all-seeing Trader with a murky identity plots an overdue revenge. Dust Published: January 28th, 2014 5.      All Our Names - Dinaw Mengestu From Ethiopian American novelist, Dinaw Mengestu, All Our Names is about the story of two young men who come of age during an African revolution, drawn from the safe confines of the university campus into the intensifying clamour of the streets outside. But as the line between idealism and violence becomes increasingly blurred, the friends are driven apart—one into the deepest peril, as the movement gathers inexorable force and the other into the safety of exile in the American Midwest. There, pretending to be an exchange student, he falls in love with a social worker and settles into small-town life. Yet this moment of peace is inescapably darkened by the secrets of his past: the acts he committed and the work he left unfinished. Most of all, he is haunted by the beloved friend he left behind, the charismatic leader who first guided him to revolution and then sacrificed everything to ensure his freedom.   Published: March 4th, 2014  6.      Arctic Summer - Damon Galgut From award winning South African novelist and playwright, Damon Galgut, Arctic Summer evokes the life and work of EM Forster, his travels to India, and the freedom and inspiration he found there. In 1912, the SS Birmingham approaches India. On board is Morgan Forster, novelist and man of letters, who is embarking on a journey of discovery. As Morgan stands on deck, the promise of a strange new future begins to take shape before his eyes. The seeds of a story start to gather at the corner of his mind: a sense of impending menace, lust in close confines, under a hot, empty sky. It will be another twelve years, and a second time spent in India, before A Passage to India, EM Forster's great work of literature, is published. During these years, Morgan will come to a profound understanding of himself as a man, and of the infinite subtleties and complexity of human nature, bringing these great insights to bear in his remarkable novel. arctic summer Published: March 6th, 2014  7.      Boy, Snow, Bird - Helen Oyeyemi  In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman. A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she’d become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy’s daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African Americans passing for white. Among them, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold. boy, snow bird From the author of The Icarus Girl & White is for Witching, Boy, Snow, Bird is Helen’s 5th novel.   Published: March 6th, 2014  8.      Murder at Cape Three Points - Kwei Quartey As Inspector Darko Dawson investigates a bizarre double murder with ritual elements, he enters the realm of family secrets, greed and lust in Ghana's new oil industry. At Cape Three Points on the beautiful Ghanaian coast, a canoe washes up at an oil rig site. The two bodies in the canoe—who turn out to be a prominent, wealthy, middle-aged married couple—have obviously been murdered; the way Mr. Smith-Aidoo has been gruesomely decapitated suggests the killer was trying to send a specific message—but what, and to whom, is a mystery. The Smith-Aidoos, pillars in their community, are mourned by everyone, but especially by their niece Sapphire, a successful pediatric surgeon in Ghana's capital, Accra. Murder At Cape Three Points Written by Ghanaian-born crime fiction writer and physician, Kwei Quartey.   Published: March 18th, 2014 9.      Lagoon - Nnedi Okorafor Nigerian-American award winning author and professor, Nnedi Okorafor’s latest book (her 9th) – Lagoon is about three strangers, each isolated by his or her own problems: Adaora, the marine biologist; Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa; and Agu, the troubled soldier. Wandering Bar Beach in Lagos, Nigeria’s legendary mega-city, they’re more alone than they’ve ever been before. But when something like a meteorite plunges into the ocean and a tidal wave overcomes them, these three people will find themselves bound together in ways never imagined. Together with Ayodele, a visitor from beyond the stars, they must race through Lagos and against time itself in order to save the city, the world… and themselves. Lagoon Published: April 8th, 2014 10.  Broken Monsters - Lauren Beukes From South African novelist, short story writer, journalist and TV scriptwriter, Lauren Beukes, comes Broken Monsters - Detective Gabriella Versado is used to dealing with ugly murders. This is Detroit, after all. But the corpses turning up in abandoned buildings are unlike any she’s seen before: queasy mash-ups of animals and humans, like some DIY taxidermied freak show. After her teen daughter Layla finds photographs of the bodies on her computer and leaks them to a blogger friend and thus the whole of the Internet, Gabi finds herself fighting to stay on the case she’s compromised – and to save her relationship with her daughter. But as the murders seize the imagination of the populace with copycat killings and disturbing ‘art installations’ appearing overnight, Detective Versado has to hunt down and confront a killer who has let loose the seething subconscious of the city.# Lauren Beukes Published: May 8th, 2014 11.  The Three - Sarah Lotz  Sarah Lotz is a South African screenwriter and novelist; and her latest work – The Three is about four simultaneous plane crashes. Three child survivors. A religious fanatic who insists the three are indicators of the apocalypse. What if he's right? Three Published: May 20th, 2014.   NB: The Trials of Oscar Pistorius by John Carlin – a detailed book about the rise and fall of South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, with publication shortly after the murder trial ends in March, 2014.     By: Olusola Agbaje

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