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Buchtipps

Longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, 2019 Skinny's Book of the Year, 2018 'Extraordinary' Guardian Bukhosi has gone missing. His father, Abed, and his mother, Agnes, cling to the hope that he has run away, rather than been murdered by government thugs. Only the lodger seems to have any idea. Zamani has lived in the spare room for years now. Quiet, polite, well-read and well-heeled, he's almost part of the family - but almost isn't quite good enough for Zamani.

He’s the Agency’s newest recruit, eager to leap through his first gate into an unfamiliar time. In Enver’s home city of Johannesburg, fair-skinned people are a rarity and have been for centuries. The people of Johannesburg were spared the ravages of the apocalypse because of the thousands of miles of mining tunnels running beneath it. The Agency’s thinking machines have set his first mission for Marrakesh, circa 1955. His handler is the tough and taciturn Shanumi Six. Their mission: prevent the apocalypse from happening again.

This dark and suspenseful novel tells the story of a fictitious West African country caught in the grip of civil war. The dispassionate and deadpan narrator, Asante Kroma, is a former head of Secret Services and finds himself living with the corpse of the dictator, a man who once ruled his nation with an iron fist. Through a series of flashbacks and letters penned by the dictator, N'Zo Nikiema, readers discover the role of the French shadow leader, Pierre Castaneda, whose ongoing ambition to exploit the natural resources of the country knows no limits.

Barber Shop Chronicles is a generously funny, heart-warming and insightful new play set in five African cities, Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos, Accra, and in London. Inspired in part by the story of a Leeds barber, the play invites the audience into a unique environment where the banter may be barbed, but the truth always telling. The barbers of these tales are sages, role models and father figures who keep the men together and the stories alive.

Ajuba, the Fisherman’s daughter, has to retrieve her dead father’s bones from the bottom of the sea in order to bring harmony back to her seaside village. In fulfilling her task, she must evade the clutches of The Fish-man of the Purple Lake, a monstrous creature who guards the lake with a sword made of a thousand shark’s teeth. But the Fish-man, once a beautiful boy called Musa has his own story about how he came to dwell alone, underwater, cast into the sea by a golden eagle as punishment for a treacherous deed.

Phoenix was grown and raised among other genetic experiments in New York’s Tower 7. She is an “accelerated woman”—only two years old but with the body and mind of an adult, Phoenix’s abilities far exceed those of a normal human. Still innocent and inexperienced in the ways of the world, she is content living in her room speed reading e-books, running on her treadmill, and basking in the love of Saeed, another biologically altered human of Tower 7.

Three very different men struggle with thoughts of belonging, loss, identity and love as they attempt to find a place for themselves in Britain. The Magistrate tries to create new memories and roots, fusing a wandering exploration of Edinburgh with music. The Maestro, a depressed, quixotic character, sinks out of the real world into the fantastic world of literature. The Mathematician, full of youth, follows a carefree, hedonistic lifestyle, until their three universes collide.

This is the story of K. K is sent into care before a year marks his birth. He grows up in fields and woods, and he is happy, he thinks. When K is eleven, the city reclaims him. He returns to an unknown mother and a part-time father, trading the fields for flats and a community that is alien to him. Slowly, he finds friends. Eventually, he finds love. He learns how to navigate the city. But as he grows, he begins to realise that he needs more than the city can provide. He is a man made of pieces. Pieces that are slowly breaking apart.

A young woman loses her grip on reality, destroyed by being the mistress of a powerful general. A pastor hides the innocent from marauding gangs hyped up by post-election fervour. A philosophy professor struggles against his better judgment to save everyone but himself. In present-day Nigeria, there are many centres of the universe.

The stories collected in What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours are linked by more than the exquisitely winding prose of their creator: Helen Oyeyemi's ensemble cast of characters slip from the pages of their own stories only to surface in another. The reader is invited into a world of lost libraries and locked gardens, of marshlands where the drowned dead live and a city where all the clocks have stopped; students hone their skills at puppet school, the Homely Wench Society commits a guerrilla book-swap, and lovers exchange books and roses on St Jordi's Day.