- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins [New York Times Bestseller]
The debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.
“Nothing is more addicting than The Girl on the Train.”—Vanity Fair
“The Girl on the Train has more fun with unreliable narration than any chiller since Gone Girl. . . . [It] is liable to draw a large, bedazzled readership.”—The New York Times
“Marries movie noir with novelistic trickery. . . hang on tight. You’ll be surprised by what horrors lurk around the bend.”—USA Today
“Like its train, the story blasts through the stagnation of these lives in suburban London and the reader cannot help but turn pages.”—The Boston Globe
“Gone Girl fans will devour this psychological thriller.”—People
Born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe, Ms. Hawkins grew up in thrall to foreign correspondents who tracked in and out of her house to visit her father, an economics professor and financial journalist. She moved to London with her family when she was 17. When her parents returned to Zimbabwe a few years later, she stayed in England to attend Oxford, studying economics, politics and philosophy, and eventually became a business reporter for The Times of London.
2. I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Martin Ganda [New York Times Bestseller]
“The remarkable tenacity of these two souls pulled like magnets across the world by their opposite polarities – one committed to helping, the other to surviving – is deeply affecting…It’s quite a little miracle of unexpected genuineness.”―New York Times Book Review
“A well-written, accessible story that will open Western adolescents’ eyes to life in developing countries. Told in the first person, with chapters alternating between Caitlin’s and Martin’s points of view, this title effectively conveys both of these young people’s perspectives…a strong and inspiring story…and an eye-opening look at life in another culture.”―SLJ
“An inspirational story…eye-opening.”―The Bulletin
“This heart-warming memoir will inspire readers to open their eyes to other cultures and realize that even the smallest of gestures can be important.”―School Library Connection
“This compelling story of an unlikely friendship across continents will quiet your inner skeptic and inspire you to take a chance. Moving and uplifting.”
― Award-winning author and journalist Peter Godwin
3. Rotten Row Petina Gappah
Petina Gappah returns with another collection of stories, exploring modern Zimbabwe
Criminality is at the heart of a trenchant and mordantly funny collection of stories about life in modern Zimbabwe
Petina Gappah is a favourite of ours at Emerald Street. Her novel The Book of Memory was our number one book of last year and she gave a hugely interesting and funny talk at The Emerald Street Literary Festival back in June… Rotten Row is a collection of short stories, based loosely around the road of the same name in Harare, Zimbabwe, the site of the city’s criminal Magistrates’ Courts…Every single one of them has a thoughtful structure that contains pulsing life. (Anna Fielding Emerald Street)
Both absorbing in their way, it’s Gappah’s Rotten Row that wins for its stories that throb with life and meaning. (Stylist, Book Wars)
A distinctive quality of Gappah’s fiction is that, while the events she depicts are invariably tragic, the writing itself feels upbeat, excited. Describing the Radiohead song “Creep”, the music critic Alex Ross once write: “the lyrics may be saying , ‘I’m a creep.’ but the music is saying, ‘I am majestic.'” A similar tension informs Gappah’s work: although her stories depict a despair-inducing world, the spiritedness of her writing makes them seem almost gleeful…In Rotten Row, Gappah has found a way of reconciling trenchant social criticism with the needs of entertainment – and the result, for the most part, is genuinely brilliant. (William Skidelsky Financial Times)
It is the unfortunate burden of African writers that their work is often reduced to representation: as though they existed to describe and diagnose the state of their home countries, or worse, the entire continent. Yet this burden, in the hands of a brilliant writer, can be an opportunity. In Rotten Row Petina Gappah, who won the Guardian first book award in 2009 for her collection of stories An Elegy for Easterly, has produced a beautiful, sweeping collection that illuminates various aspects of contemporary Zimbabwean life…But Rotten Row’s real importance as a collection is that it does the purest work of fiction, and does it well…Rotten Row hums with life, and it delivers one of the keenest and simplest pleasures fiction has to offer: a feeling of true intimacy, of total immersion, in situations not our own, in the selves of others. (FT Kola Guardian)
However grim the subjects, Gappah’s narratives have a resilient lightness and bounce. (Phil Baker Sunday Times)
Gappah’s writing is intelligent, witty and incisive. (Kate Saunders The Times)
Does for Harare now what Dickens did for Victorian London, with lethal comic relish and rage. (Helen Simpson Observer Books of the Year)
Gappah’s short stories depict contemporary Zimbabwe as a place of both reassuring normality and unnerving extremes. She exposes the venality, criminality and hypocrisy, but always with mordant humour. As the FT’s reviewer put it: “Gappah has found a way of reconciling trenchant social criticism with the needs of entertainment – the result is brilliant. (Rebecca Rose The Financial Times Books of the Year)
Zimbabwe’s sexual politics prove all too familiar in Petina Gappah’s questing collection, Rotten Row. Her debut, An Elegy for Easterly, won the Guardian first book award in 2009, and these new tales reach back to her roots in law… their energy is irresistible. (Stuart Dybek Observer)
4. We Need New Names: A Novel by NoViolet Bulawayo
NoViolet Bulawayo is the author of We Need New Names (May 2013) which has been recognized with the LA Times Book Prize Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, the Pen/Hemingway Award, the Etisalat Prize for Literature, the Barnes and Noble Discover Award (second place), and the National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” Fiction Selection. We Need New Names was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Book Award, and selected to the New York Times Notable Books of 2013 list, the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers list, and others. NoViolet’s story “Hitting Budapest” won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing.
NoViolet earned her MFA at Cornell University where she was a recipient of the Truman Capote Fellowship. She was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, where she now teaches as a Jones Lecturer in Fiction. NoViolet grew up in Zimbabwe.
5.The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe by Peter Godwin
In 2008, memoirist and journalist Peter Godwin secretly returned to his native Zimbabwe after its notoriously tyrannical leader, Robert Mugabe, lost an election. The decision was severely risky–foreign journalists had been banned to prevent the world from seeing a corrupt leader’s refusal to cede power. Zimbabweans have named this period, simply, The Fear.
Godwin bears witness to the torture bases, the burning villages, the opposition leaders in hiding, the last white farmers, and the churchmen and diplomats putting their own lives on the line to stop the carnage. Told with a brilliant eye for detail, THE FEAR is a stunning personal account of a people laid waste by a despot and, armed with nothing but a desire to be free, their astonishing courage and resilience.
6. The Struggle Continues: 50 Years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe by David Coltart
David Coltart is one of the most prominent political and human rights figures in Zimbabwe. In 2000, he was elected to Parliament and, following the creation of a ‘coalition’ government in September 2008, he was appointed Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, a position he held until August 2013. Over the years, Coltart has been threatened, detained, spuriously prosecuted and has survived several direct attempts on his life. For three decades, Coltart has kept detailed notes and records of all his work, including a meticulous diary of Cabinet dealings, the source material for much of his book.
7. The Hairdresser of Harare: A Novel (Modern African Writing Series) by Tendai Huchu
Tendai Huchu’s work has been translated into German, French, Spanish, and Italian. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Interzone, Wasafiri, and elsewhere. He was shortlisted for the 2014 Caine Prize.
“This sharp, entertaining, and thoughtful debut is rife with sociopolitical commentary but never loses its humanity…. Through deceptively simple observations and plain prose, Huchu exposes readers to issues of classism, racism, and homophobia without ever coming across as preachy or heavy-handed.” —Kirkus Reviews
“This glorious book defies classification with its astute sociopolitical commentary nestling inside the appealing, often comic story of a young woman who will not accept defeat. With a light touch and real skill, Huchu takes us through the life-sapping economic realities of contemporary Harare.”
“Written with a clear, economical style and deceptive simplicity, this is a novel one can glide through in a matter of hours and end up wanting more.”
—The Herald (Scotland)
“Tendai Huchu’s excellent novel deftly mixes a touching narrative with sharp social commentary…. Vimbai’s narration is light and comic, recounting the little joys and absurdities of her job, before she gestures arrestingly to the bleak realities of life in Zimbabwe.”
“Huchu brings Harare’s public and private spaces to vivid life. These people and places are distinguished by aspiration and failure, international engagement and small-town provincialism, wealth and poverty, family ties and bitter mistrust—and, always, the specter of violence and a tenuous peace.”
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
8. In Pursuit of Freedom and Justice: A Memoir by Cephas G. Msipa
“As I look back, I am happy that I have lived for so long”. It is a happiness shared by many: family members, friends and colleagues. Cephas Msipa’s memoirs take us back to his birth in Zvishavane in 1931, and they reflect a life dedicated to the welfare of others and the development of his country. Following secondary education at Dadaya Mission, he worked as a teacher in Zvishavane and Kwekwe, where he was active in the Rhodesian African Teachers Association, before moving to Harare in 1958. It was a time of rising nationalism in the capital, and following the banning of the African National Congresss and its successor, the National Democratic Party, Msipa was a founding member of ZAPU, the Zimbabwean African People’s Union. Thus began an engagement with national politics that would last until he was in his late seventies, furthering his education as a political detainee and, after independence had been won, serving as a deputy minister, minister and provincial governor. The narrative of his life follows the arc of Zimbabwe’s history, and embraces the people and events that have shaped it. Beyond that, it is the story of a gentle, humorous, committed man who enjoyed a long and loving marriage and continues to fill his retirement with philanthropy and wide-ranging friendships.
9. My Kondozi Story: The People’s Hope Pillaged by Edwin Moyo
A tragic account of how the badly managed Zimbabwe Land Reform impacted the lives of more than 10, 000 who depended on Kondozi Estate for their livelihood after it was seized by the state to appease the greed of one man.
Edwin Moyo is an Entrepreneur and Co promoter of the Dow Jones SAM sustainability Index Fund , Innofin Mitchell and Mitchell and Kondozi Farms. Has wide experience in structured finance and is the author of many UNCTAD white paper publications on export horticulture structured trade Finance in Africa.
10. The Last Resort: A Memoir of Mischief and Mayhem on a Family Farm in Africa by Douglas Rogers
“This vibrant, tragic and surprsingly funny book is the best account yet of ordinary life—for blacks and whites—under Mugabe’s dictatorship.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“A nuanced, funny, and heartbreaking story.”
—The New Yorker
“A gorgeous, open-hearted book. Rogers manages to do the vital work of taking race out of Zimbabwe’s story and putting the heart and humanity back into it. A must read for anyone who really wants to understand the extraordinary decency of ordinary Zimbabweans.”
—Alexandra Fuller, author of Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight
“I read it in one sitting. I loved it.”
—Rian Malan, author of My Traitor’s Heart
“Do we really need another memoir by a white Zimbabwean? The surprising answer is yes, if it’s as good as Douglas Rogers’ THE LAST RESORT….A ripping yarn….[moves] beyond memoir to become a chronicle of a nation. There is black and white, yes, but much more in the shades and tones of their mix—and it is in exploring them that Rogers, too, find his art.”
“Zimbabwe in vertiginous decline is the backdrop for Douglas Rogers’s corrosively funny THE LAST RESORT, in which Roger’s parents, among the country’s last remaining white farmers, attract everyone from prostitutes and diamond dealers to their backpacker lodge.”
—Vogue, featured in “The Season’s Best Memoirs”
“Born in Zimbabwe, New York-based travel writer Rogers moves between two worlds with wit and grace while telling the dire-straits story of his childhood in Zimbabwe and his recent return….Angst, humor, beauty and terror mingle freely in his narrative….This rousing memoir should win over anyone with a taste for exotic can’t-go-home-again stories.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“As President Mugabe’s regime turns belligerent toward white farmers, journalist Rogers witnesses the struggle of his family and others to hold on to their land….Rogers’ decision to write about his parents’ lodge and the people who find refuge there as violence erupts and the economy turns catastrophic brings him close to all kinds of people, black and white, from war veterans and politicians to farmers and squatters. Scrupulous in his documentation, Rogers talks to everybody about the way things were and what might come next….Brilliantly funny and wry.”
“Pitch-perfect, undeniably real, and, most important, achingly funny, Rogers deftly reminds us that after wiping away tears and even burying the dead, a good antidote to the violent, poignant, and completely absurd place that Zimbabwe has become is to throw arms wide to the undaunted African sky and simply laugh.”
—Wendy Kann, author of Casting with a Fragile Thread: A Story of Sisters and sAfrica
“Travelogue, adventure yarn, political intrigue, tragedy, and high-wire journalism, The Last Resort is a love story about the author and his homeland, Zimbabwe. She is by turns ineffably beautiful, unspeakably hideous, insanely rich, desperately poor, democratic, brutally autocratic, violent, corrupt, and dysfunctional, even though, in person, her people seem to be, one and all, hardscrabble heroes and survivors. Rogers tries to leave her and doesn’t even want to write about her, but, in the end, her charms are irresistible. He can’t help himself and neither can we.”
—Richard Dooling, author of White Man’s Grave
“With breathtaking talent, wry wit, and abundant heart, Douglas Rogers tells the compulsively readable tale of his parents’ daily struggles to hold on to their land in the nightmarish landscape of present-day Zimbabwe. With every turn of the page, you fear for the Rogerses’ survival, as well as the survival of the country they love so much. But even as they face the most difficult of challenges, their indomitable spirit shines through, revealing the ordinary heroism of people in extraordinary circumstances.”
—Anne Landsman, author of The Rowing Lesson