NoViolet Bulawayo’s debut novel is a bittersweet portrayal of life in a ramshackle Zimbabwean shantytown called Paradise.
The story of Darling and her friends Stina, Chipo, Godknows, Sbho and Bastard. They all used to have proper houses, with real rooms and furniture, but now they all live in a shanty called Paradise. They spend their days stealing guavas, playing games and wondering how to get the baby out of young Chipo’s stomach. They dream of escaping to other paradises – America, Dubai, Europe. But if they do escape, will these new lands bring everything they wish for?
“Chapter by chapter, Bulawayo ticks off the issues that a state-of-the-nation novel by an African should cover — the hypocrisies of the church, elections, the AIDS epidemic, political violence — and beats some subtlety back into them with the hard true sound of Darling’s voice… With fury and tenderness, she has made a linguistic bridge between here and there, a journey her heroine charts in this phenomenal tale with the gallows humor of a girl who knows how far down it is when things fall apart.” – John Freeman, The Minneapolis Star Tribune
NoViolet Bulawayo’s debut novel, We Need New Names, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, and won a Betty Trask Award, Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, Hurston-Wright Legacy Award, the Etisalat Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction. She has also won the Caine Prize for African Writing and a National Book Award’s ‘5 Under 35’.
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