I’m very excited to be able to join Diversathon this time around. I won’t be joining in the group read, mainly because I’m currently doing a buddy read and also because I don’t have the book and don’t plan on buying it anytime soon. But since that’s optional I can join in without guilt or pressure.
I’ve decided on these three books, two because I’m really excited for them and one because I’ve DNFed it so many times that I HAVE to finish it for the sake of my sanity.
1. Beasts Of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala– This is the DNF. “As civil war rages in an unnamed West-African nation, Agu, the school-aged protagonist of this stunning debut novel, is recruited into a unit of guerilla fighters. Haunted by his father’s own death at the hands of militants, which he fled just before witnessing, Agu is vulnerable to the dangerous yet paternal nature of his new commander. While the war rages on, Agu becomes increasingly divorced from the life he had known before the conflict started—a life of school friends, church services, and time with his family, still intact. As he vividly recalls these sunnier times, his daily reality continues to spin further downward into inexplicable brutality, primal fear, and loss of selfhood.” As always, with stories about young boys (except Harry Potter) I have trouble connecting with the main character so I keep DNFing them. Same reason I DNFed Aristotle and Dante. Hopefully the Diversathon and the size of the book compel me to finish it.
2. On Black Sisters Street by Chika Unigwe – I have been dying to read this since I first heard of it. Thankfully I found a used copy online but it came to me super smelly and stained in what smelt like gas(?). So I left it out in the sun and then stowed it away. While I was looking for books for Diversathon I uncovered this and super excitedly sniffed it again aaaand….NO GAS SMELL! That also mean’s its no longer as flammable as it was before and I can read it happily with a candle to keep my cozy. (There’s another book that has this issue, hopefully that has lost the smell too).
Each night, Sisi, Ama, Efe, and Joyce stand in the windows of Antwerp’s red-light district, promising to make men’s desires come true—if only for half an hour. Pledged to the fierce Madam and a mysterious pimp named Dele, the girls share an apartment but little else—they keep their heads down, knowing that one step out of line could cost them a week’s wages. They open their bodies to strangers but their hearts to no one, each focused on earning enough to get herself free, to send money home or save up for her own future.
Then, suddenly, a murder shatters the still surface of their lives. Drawn together by tragedy and the loss of one of their own, the women realize that they must choose between their secrets and their safety. As they begin to tell their stories, their confessions reveal the face in Efe’s hidden photograph, Ama’s lifelong search for a father, Joyce’s true name, and Sisi’s deepest secrets—-and all their tales of fear, displacement, and love, concluding in a chance meeting with a powerful, sinister stranger. I like the cover in the link above better than the one I have, but the one I have is gorgeous too.
3. The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz – I’m so excited about this one. SOOOO EXCITED! I got this from estories, an audiobook place like audible but way cheaper and I’m so chuffed because this isn’t releasing anytime soon in India. Such perfect timing too don’t you think? I read somewhere that this was recommended for people who like dystopians like Oryx and Crake so if that sounds like your think, grab it.
In a surreal, but familiar, vision of modern day Middle East, a centralized authority known as ‘the Gate’ has risen to power in the aftermath of the ‘Disgraceful Events,’ a failed popular uprising. Citizens are required to obtain permission from the Gate in order to take care of even the most basic of their daily affairs, yet the Gate never opens, and the queue in front of it grows longer.
Citizens from all walks of life mix and wait in the sun: an activist journalist, a sheikh, a poor woman concerned for her daughter’s health, and even the cousin of a security officer killed in clashes with protestors. Among them is Yehya, a man who was shot during the Events and is waiting for permission from the Gate to remove a bullet that remains lodged in his pelvis. Yehya’s health steadily declines, yet at every turn, officials refuse to assist him, actively denying the very existence of the bullet.
Ultimately it is Tarek, the principled doctor tending to Yehya’s case, who must decide whether to follow protocol as he has always done, or to disobey the law and risk his career to operate on Yehya and save his life.
I could be mistaken but I think these are all own voices(?). Which has me thrilled. That usually doesn’t matter to me but it has me particularly thrilled for the first two since the third is a dystopian anyway. Cannot wait to read these.
Are you participating in Diversathon?