Into Africa

Africa is not one country. It is a huge continent composed of many different countries. Its people live in large cities, small towns, and, yes, dusty villages. Yet, tales of Africa convey a common passion. Whether the tale is of a clever woman running a detective agency in a traditional town or a recounting of the agonies of civil war or invasion, stories from Africa strike at the heart of the human condition.

The Road to Home

By Vanessa Del Fabbro

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South African journalist Monica Brunetti had it all -- promising career, loving family, marriage-minded boyfriend. Then, a life-changing encounter with evil landed her in a hospital bed next to a gregarious, charismatic Ella Nkhoma, whose wit and caring challenged Monica's worldview. Their remarkable friendship would lead Monica far from the gated white suburbs, and toward a parting that left both women transformed . . . and Monica the mother of two sons.

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The Optimists

By Andrew Miller

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Clem Glass was a successful photojournalist, firm in the belief that photographs could capture truth and beauty. Until he went to Africa and witnessed the aftermath of a genocidal massacre.
Clem returns to London with his faith in human nature shattered and his life derailed. Nothing--work, love, sex--can rouse his interest and no other outlook can restore his faith. The one person Clem is able to connect with is his sister, who has made her own sudden retreat from reality into the shadows of mental illness, and he finds some peace nursing her back to health in rural Somerset. Then news arrives that offers him the chance to confront the source of his nightmares.
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The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

By Alexander McCall Smith

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This first novel in Alexander McCall Smith's widely acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to help people with problems in their lives. Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witchdoctors.

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The Hotel Alleluia

By Lucinda Roy

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"...the story of two half-sisters who are separated in childhood and raised continents apart. Joan, the white sister, grows up in North Carolina, while Ursuline, the African sister, is adopted by nuns in West Africa. Joan's quest to find Ursuline following their mother's death sets off a whirlwind of events in Africa as the sisters join forces with Gordon Delacroix, Joan's former lover, and Jeremy Scott, a troubled English writer. The days they spend together in the violence and bloodshed of a disintegrating nation change all four of them forever. Eventually Joan and Ursuline escape to America, where they are forced to reevaluate what is meant by love, faith, and racial identity."
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Mrs. Pollifax and the Lion Killer

By Dorothy Gilman

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In her new adventure, part-time C.I.A. agent Mrs. Pollifax accompanies her young friend Kadi Hopkirk to the African country of Ubangiba, where Kadi's childhood friend, Sammat, is soon to be crowned king. This impromptu journey is a response to an S.O.S. from Sammat to Kadi; and Mrs. P., reluctant to allow the girl to venture alone into what she fears may be grave danger, crashes the party. Sunny little Ubangiba is no great shakes as nations go. Under Sammat's selfless leadership it is recovering from the devastation wrought by two greedy presidents-for-life who preceded him in office. But Sammat has dangerous enemies. Everywhere rumors are springing up that he is a sorcerer and that his evil power is responsible for a rash of shocking murders in which the victims appear to have been clawed to death by a lion. These crimes are especially terrifying because there are no lions in Ubangiba."
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Long Walk To Freedom

By Nelson Mandela

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An international hero, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and leader of South Africa's antiapartheid movement chronicles his life, including his tribal years, his time spent in prison, and his return to lead his people.

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Leo Africanus

By Amin Maalouf; translated by Peter Sluglett

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Born in Spain just before the Moors were expelled from that country, Hassan al-Wazzan grew up in North African and became a world traveller, diplomat, author and geographer. Using the real life of al-Wazzan as a starting point, this historical novel examines the intersections and conflicts between the Christian and Arab worlds in the 16th century.
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Hottentot Venus

By Barbara Chase-Riboud

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"From the bestselling author of Sally Hemings comes an extraordinary new novel based on the true story of Sarah Baartman, a South African herdswoman exhibited as a “scientific curiosity” in the capitals of nineteenth-century Europe. Barbara Chase-Riboud’s previous historical novels won her critical praise and established her as a writer who daringly transforms the hidden truths of the past into compelling fiction. InHottentot Venus, Chase-Riboud recounts the tragic life of Sarah Baartman, re-creating in vivid, shocking detail the racism and sexism at the heart of European imperialism. Born in the colony of Good Hope, South Africa, in 1789, Sarah Baartman was taken to London at the age of twenty by an English surgeon, who promised her fame and fortune. Dubbed the “Hottentot Venus,” she was paraded naked in Piccadilly in a freak-show exhibition and subjected to the unabashed stares and crude comments of the British public, which resulted in a sensational trial for her custody by British abolitionists."

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Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood

By Alexandra Fuller

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Fuller's memoir of a childhood dominated by the Rhodesian civil war of 1971-1979 captures the fascinating life of a white family living in one of the most remote regions of Africa.

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Cry, The Beloved Country

By Alan Paton

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"...a beautifully told and profoundly compassionate story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son Absalom, set in the troubled and changing South Africa of the 1940s. The book is written with such keen empathy and understanding that to read it is to share fully in the gravity of the characters' situations."
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