Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Photos: Books of the Year 2016

 The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso is a rare sort of novel that is funny, wise, insightful and beautifully observed. More after cut......

 The Safest Place You Know by Mark Winkler is an astonishingly original and beautifully rendered look at the damage done by parents and the possibility of redemption that crosses class and race boundaries on a 1980s South African wine farm.

 The Mayor of Mogadishu by Andrew Harding. This artistically crafted story of a fascinating Somali politician is an exemplary example of outstanding narrative journalism that provides historical context to the story of Mohamud "Tarzan" Nur. A delicious read, and proof that nonfiction can be as lyrical as any other genre.


 The Apartment by SL Grey contains creeping horror that is really all about the fear and claustrophobia of being South African.

 East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity by Philippe Sands is a gripping read despite its title, and a masterful use of memoir and biography to unpick the Holocaust .

 he God Who Made Mistakes by Ekow Duker is set in Alexandra, Johannesburg, and is a remarkably honest story of life in the townships. The author has the ability to bring to life the innermost hopes and fears of the characters.

 The Orenda by Joseph Boyden is a stunning tale of love and vengeance during the first clashes between Canada's first nations and Western invaders. The story is relentless and devastating. Paul Kalanithi's When Breath Becomes Air is a life-affirming reflection on death by a neurosurgeon during the last months of his life. What makes life worth living is one of the questions Kalanithi asked when he was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 36. This is his answer.

 How Should A Person Be? by Sheila Heti. I met Sheila at this year's Open Book festival. She was hilarious, ironic and earnest at the same time. Her novel is a beautiful mess. And I use "mess" in the most endearing manner. I've read such disparate reactions to it. She mixes autobiography with fiction (still not sure which parts they are but I don't care) with ease. The book is also wonderfully filthy.

 Mothers and Sons by Colm Tóibín is a collection of beautiful short stories written so exquisitely and "simply" you forget how difficult it is to write.

 Zakes Mda's Little Suns has everything we love about Mda. It's historical, fantastical, political, sad and hilarious. How does he continue to do it?

Reference: Sunday Times

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