Tag Archives: BAEM writers

A Powerful Companion to ‘The Colour Purple’: ‘Possessing the Secret of Joy’ by Alice Walker (1992)

Alice Walker’s most famous novel is her 1982 classic, ‘The Colour Purple.’  In it, she takes an abused black teenager living in the deep South, and turns her story into a wonderfully life-affirming tale of female solidarity and the possibility … Continue reading

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A Dark Period of History: ‘The Book of Night Women’, by Marlon James (2009)

Marlon James’s Booker winning ‘A Brief History of Seven Killings‘ was one of my top reads of last year.  Not only was it a virtuosic view of a time and place I knew little about, it was written with such … Continue reading

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A Mouth Watering Read: ‘Like Water for Chocolate’ by Laura Esquivel (1989)

The last Mexican book I read was ‘Down the Rabbit Hole,’ Juan Pablo Villalobos’ demented tale of life at the very heart of a drug gang.  Reading ‘Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Instalments with Recipes, Romances and … Continue reading

Posted in Laura Esquivel, Mexican Literature, Reading in translation | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Two Short Japanese Books (and Food, Lots of Food): ‘Kitchen’ by Banana Yoshimoto (1987) and ‘Strange Weather in Tokyo’ by Hiromi Kawakami (2012)

I don’t want to go for glib connections within foreign fiction, but I’ve been really struck by two books that were placed high-up on my 2016 reading pile. Yoshimoto’s ‘Kitchen’ and Kawakami’s ‘Strange Weather in Tokyo’ both left me with … Continue reading

Posted in Banana Yoshimoto, Hiormi Kawakami, Japanese Literature | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Unexpectedly haunting: ‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’ by Manuel Puig (1976)

‘Something a little strange, that’s what you notice, that she’s not a woman like all the others.’ I almost feel guilty writing a review of this book because much of my joy in reading it was battling my confusion as I … Continue reading

Posted in Reading in translation | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Where Outsiders Go: ‘Under the Udala Trees’ by Chinelo Okparanta (2015)

I had heard so much of the success of Okparanta’s ‘Under the Udala Trees’ in America, where it was published last year, that I decided to break my no-book-buying ambition for 2016.  To put this in context, the only other … Continue reading

Posted in Chinelo Okparanta, Nigerian Literature | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

A is for … ‘Americanah’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013)

Out of sequence, but well worth waiting for, I’ve finally read the first title of my diverse reading A-Z (devised as a response to #DiverseDecember in 2015).  At the time, it had felt almost like a cheat, after all, it might … Continue reading

Posted in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian Literature | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Transcending cultures? ‘Quicksand’ by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki (1928-30)

‘Quicksand’ is on my bookshelf because years ago I read Tanizaki’s ‘Some Prefer Nettles’ and decided it was the best book ever.  Set in 1920s Japan, it was evocative, exotic and wonderfully baffling.  Sadly, it was also a library book … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese Literature, Jun'ichirō Tanizaki | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Inspired by Diverse December: an A-Z of BAEM authors for 2016

At the end of November a couple of Bloggers (at From Inside the Dog and The Writes of Woman) started up the #Diverse December reading challenge.  They argued eloquently and persuasively that it’s no good just ‘reading what’s out there’ when ‘what’s out there’ is … Continue reading

Posted in Book Lists, How to pick which book to read, Reading in translation | Tagged , | 18 Comments