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Fiction

Fiction Book List

Winner of the 2015 Weatherford Award in Fiction · Finalist, Judy Gaines Young Book Award
Cover of 'Trampoline'

Trampoline
An Illustrated Novel
By Robert Gipe

When Dawn Jewell—fifteen, restless, curious, and wry—joins her grandmother’s fight against mountaintop removal mining in spite of herself, she has to decide whether to save a mountain or save herself; be ruled by love or by anger; remain in the land of her birth or run for her life. Inspired by oral tradition and punctuated by Gipe’s raw and whimsical drawings Trampoline is a powerful portrait of a place.

Cover of 'The Hairdresser of Harare'

The Hairdresser of Harare
By Tendai Huchu

This delicious and devastating novel, which the New York Times called “a fresh and moving account of contemporary Zimbabwe,” handles bleak themes with humor and grace as it tells the story of the rise and collapse of a friendship.

Cover of 'Mrs. Shaw'

Mrs. Shaw
A Novel
By Mukoma Wa Ngugi

In the fictional East African Kwatee Republic of the 1990s, the dictatorship is about to fall, and the nation’s exiles are preparing to return. One of these exiles, a young man named Kalumba, is a graduate student in the United States, where he encounters Mrs. Shaw, a professor emerita and former British settler who fled Kwatee’s postcolonial political and social turmoil.

Cover of 'Sacred River'

Sacred River
A Novel
By Syl Cheney-Coker

The reincarnation of a legendary nineteenth-century Caribbean emperor as a contemporary African leader is at the heart of this novel. Sacred River deals with the extraordinary lives, hopes, powerful myths, stories, and tragedies of the people of a modern West African nation. It is also the compelling love story of an idealistic philosophy professor and an ex-courtesan of incomparable beauty.

Cover of 'Seduction of the Minotaur'

Seduction of the Minotaur
By Anaïs Nin
· Introduction by Anita Jarczok

“Some voyages have their inception in the blueprint of a dream, some in the urgency of contradicting a dream. Lillian’s recurrent dream of a ship that could not reach the water, that sailed laboriously, pushed by her with great effort, through city streets, had determined her course toward the sea, as if she would give this ship, once and for all, its proper sea bed…. With her first swallow of air she inhaled a drug of forgetfulness well known to adventurers.”

Cover of 'Under a Glass Bell'

Under a Glass Bell
By Anaïs Nin
· Introduction by Elizabeth Podnieks

Although Under a Glass Bell is now considered one of Anaïs Nin’s finest collections of stories, it was initially deemed unpublishable. Refusing to give up on her vision, in 1944 Nin founded her own press and brought out the first edition, illustrated with striking black-and-white engravings by her husband, Hugh Guiler. Shortly thereafter, it caught the attention of literary critic Edmund Wilson, who reviewed the collection in the New Yorker.

Winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize
Cover of 'Thirteen Cents'

Thirteen Cents
A Novel
By K. Sello Duiker
· Introduction by Shaun Viljoen

Every city has an unspoken side. Cape Town, between the picture postcard mountain and sea, has its own shadow: a place of dislocation and uncertainty, dependence and desperation, destruction and survival, gangsters, pimps, pedophiles, hunger, hope, and moments of happiness.

A Dayton Daily News Top Fiction Title of 2012
Cover of 'Sharp and Dangerous Virtues'

Sharp and Dangerous Virtues
A Novel
By Martha Moody

It’s 2047 in Dayton, Ohio. In response to food and water shortages, the U.S. government has developed an enormous, and powerfully successful, agricultural area—the “Heartland Grid”—just north of the city. In the meantime, in the wake of declining American power a multinational force has established itself in Cleveland. Behind these quickly shifting alliances lies a troubling yet tantalizing question: what will the American future look like?

Cover of 'Paper Sons and Daughters'

Paper Sons and Daughters
Growing up Chinese in South Africa
By Ufrieda Ho

Ufrieda Ho’s compelling memoir describes with intimate detail what it was like to come of age in the marginalized Chinese community of Johannesburg during the apartheid era of the 1970s and 1980s. The Chinese were mostly ignored, as Ho describes it, relegated to certain neighborhoods and certain jobs, living in a kind of gray zone between the blacks and the whites. As long as they adhered to these rules, they were left alone.

Cover of 'Dog Eat Dog'

Dog Eat Dog
A Novel
By Niq Mhlongo

Dog Eat Dog is a remarkable record of being young in a nation undergoing tremendous turmoil, and provides a glimpse into South Africa’s pivotal kwaito (South African hip-hop) generation and life in Soweto. Set in 1994, just as South Africa is making its postapartheid transition, Dog Eat Dog captures the hopes—and crushing disappointments—that characterize such moments in a nation’s history.

Shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards, Steele Rudd Award for Australian Short Fiction.
Cover of 'In the Shade of the Shady Tree'

In the Shade of the Shady Tree
Stories of Wheatbelt Australia
By John Kinsella

In the Shade of the Shady Tree is a collection of stories set in the Western Australian wheatbelt, a vast grain-growing area that ranges across the southwestern end of the immense Australian interior. Kinsella’s stories offer glimpses into the lives of the people who call this area home, as the reader journeys from just north of the town of Geraldton to the far eastern and southern shires of the region.

Cover of 'The Conscript'

The Conscript
A Novel of Libya’s Anticolonial War
By Gebreyesus Hailu
· Translation by Ghirmai Negash
· Introduction by Laura Chrisman

Eloquent and thought-provoking, this classic novel by the Eritrean novelist Gebreyesus Hailu, written in Tigrinya in 1927 and published in 1950, is one of the earliest novels written in an African language and will have a major impact on the reception and critical appraisal of African literature.

Chika Unigwe is the winner of the 2012 Nigeria Prize for Literature for On Black Sisters Street.
Cover of 'On Black Sisters Street'

On Black Sisters Street
A Novel
By Chika Unigwe

On Black Sisters Street tells the haunting story of four very different women who have left their African homeland for the riches of Europe—and who are thrown together by bad luck and big dreams into a sisterhood that will change their lives. 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.

Cover of 'We Are All Zimbabweans Now'

We Are All Zimbabweans Now
By James Kilgore

We Are All Zimbabweans Now is a political thriller set in Zimbabwe in the hopeful, early days of Robert Mugabe’s rise to power in the late 1980s. When Ben Dabney, a Wisconsin graduate student, arrives in the country, he is enamored with Mugabe and the promises of his government’s model of racial reconciliation. But as Ben begins his research and delves more deeply into his hero’s life, he finds fatal flaws.

Cover of 'After Tears'

After Tears
By Niq Mhlongo

Bafana Kuzwayo is a young man with a weight on his shoulders. After flunking his law studies at the University of Cape Town, he returns home to Soweto, where he must decide how to break the news to his family. But before he can confess, he is greeted as a hero by family and friends. His uncle calls him “Advo,” short for Advocate, and his mother wastes no time recruiting him to solve their legal problems.