Do you still have some unchecked boxes on the 2018 Read Harder Challenge? So do I. If you, like I, feel a deep obligation to fulfill all commitments no matter how minor, you’re probably experiencing a bit of stress at the moment. Never fear. I’m here to help, assuming the help you need consists of some written words about colonial or postcolonial literature.
First published in 1958, “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe is widely considered a classic of world literature and appears on the Great American Read list of America’s 100 most-loved books. The first book of a trilogy, it tells the story of a Nigerian man, Okonkwo, tracing his rise to power and subsequent fall during a time of increasing British colonization. Though I know this is not a consideration at all (wink, wink) as we draw nearer the deadline, it’s only 209 pages.
Arundhati Roy’s “The God of Small Things” will allow you to double dip on categories, as it can also count as a BRICS read — a book about or set in Brazil, Russia, India, China or South Africa. The book opens with 30-year-old Rahel traveling from the U.S. back to India to visit her twin brother, whom she hasn’t seen since childhood. We discover early on that they were separated due to some traumatic and tragic event. The book examines relationships and taboos at all levels of society.
“The English Patient” by Michael Ondaatje won the 1992 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Much of the story takes place in World War II North Africa, unspooling as a severely burned patient struggles to remember his own identity by sharing snippets of his recollections with the nurse caring for him.
Barbara Kingsolver’s novel “The Poisonwood Bible” spans enough time to count as both colonial and postcolonial literature. It begins in 1959 when an American missionary moves his family to the Belgian Congo, with disastrous consequences. But the story follows members of the family over the next thirty years, as they rebuild their lives after the events of that year.
“One Hundred Years of Solitude” would be nice to help me finish my reading list, and it’s also the title of a book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Magical realism permeates this story of seven generations of a misfortune-plagued Colombian family who inhabit the city founded by their patriarch.
For more titles see our catalog list. We can do it. We can finish the challenge. Let’s go!