Book reviews, recommendations, and personal musings about African stories.

The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma

The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma Took My Breath Away

The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma is set in the 1990s in Akure, a small town in Nigeria; and centers around four brothers who commit to fishing at the forbidden (and cursed) Omi-Ala River. Their father, Mr. Agwu, wants his sons to be juggernauts—children who will “dip their hands into rivers, seas, …

Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Feminist Decree for the 21st Century

Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions contains powerful, simple, and witty gems for moving towards gender equality. This manifesto is essential reading for mothers and fathers who are raising young children, and others who envision raising children in a gender-equal world. The fierce and powerful truth is this: …

Arrows of Rain by Okey Ndibe

Who Is the Bearer of History and Who Gets to Tell the Story?

Bukuru, the “madman,” and Femi, the journalist, are both memorable characters in Arrows of Rain by Okey Ndibe. Who is the bearer of history and who gets to tell the story? In this novel, a prostitute has washed ashore, and the only person who can provide information about what happened …

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

Chinelo Okparanta Explores a Taboo Relationship in a War-Torn Nigeria

In her debut novel, Under the Udala Trees, Chinelo Okparanta explores sexuality in a war-torn Nigeria. Two girls, Ijeoma and Amina, must reconcile their feelings for ea ch other within a culture that only values heterosexual relationships. Although the Biafran War does not take center stage in the novel, the war’s background …