Posts in Reading

A Shocking Memoir From a Stolen Generation

I learnt about Of Ashes and Rivers That Run to the Sea from Emma’s excellent review on Book Around the Corner. It’s a very moving memoir by a woman, Marie Munkara, who was taken from her Aboriginal family in northern Australia at the age of 3 and placed with a white foster family in Melbourne. The Stolen Generations Munkara was one of thousands of members of the “Stolen Generations” of Aboriginal children taken from their homes by the Australian government or church missions. According to Wikipedia: “Official government estimates are that in… Read More

Happiness by Aminatta Forna: Review

Although in her previous novels Aminatta Forna has grappled with wars and atrocities in Sierra Leone and the former Yugoslavia, her latest novel, titled Happiness and set in the heart of London, may be her most challenging undertaking yet.

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“H is for Hawk” by Helen Macdonald: Review

H is for Hawk is a beautiful evocation of grief and the way in which the sudden death of a loved on can rip away your sense of control over the world, reminding you that you are powerless in the face of mortality and that everything you love and cling to is transitory.

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“Tram 83” by Fiston Mwanza Mujila: Review

It isn’t every day that you get to read a Congolese novel in English. In fact, the last time it happened, the country was still called Zaire. Tram 83 is an innovative literary novel that also deals with issues like neocolonialism and the scramble for Congolese resources.

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On the violence of borders

I recently visited Ceuta, a piece of the north African coast that belongs to Spain and is hence part of “Europe”. It was a very strange and disturbing experience to cross that border so easily just by showing my British passport, when many people with different-coloured passports die trying to do the same thing. Here’s a photo I took of the border fence. The houses to the left are in Spain; the hillside to the right is in Morocco. There’s also a small village on the Moroccan side, just out of… Read More