Here’s our monthly preview of new book releases that you might want to add to your “To Be Read” list.
The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Coates’ debut novel is delivered with poetic intensity and righteous anger. The Water Dancer recounts the work of the abolitionist cells in the 19th century Deep South. Born with a mysterious power, plantation slave Hiram Walker is forced to leave his makeshift family on the plantation and soon joins a covert abolitionist cell working to liberate slaves. Yearning for his family and to topple the plantation, Hiram must first learn how to master his power and reclaim the story of his greatest loss.
Promising review: “… a richly imagined and compulsively page-turning journey to freedom” – Waterstones Books
Out of Darkness, Shining Light by Petina Gappah
Listed as one of The Guardian’s 2020 fiction highlights, Petina Gappah’s fourth novel tells the extraordinary story of the 69 men and women who carried David Livingstone’s corpse 1,500 miles across Africa so that he could be returned to England for burial.
Promising review: “…engrossing, beautiful and deeply imaginative.” – Yaa Gyasi, author of Homegoing
The Book of Echoes by Rosanna Amaka
A recommended debut novel, The Book of Echoes explores how we can overcome the traumas of the past when they are woven so inextricably with the present. It follows the lives of two young people, a boy from South East London and a girl from Lagos, as they escape their past and examines the impact of history and politics on present-day Black lives.
Promising review: “So bewitching I almost felt like I time-travelled back into Brixton 1981. A gorgeous book – totally recommended.” – Alex Wheatle
Through the Leopard’s Gaze by Njambi McGrath
Beaten and left for dead at age 13, Njambi McGrath found the courage to escape, walking all night risking wild animals, robbers and murderers in the Kenyan countryside, before being picked up by two shabbily dressed men. She spent her life burying memories of that fateful day and night, until one day a simple unassuming wedding invitation card arrived in her mailbox causing her house of matchsticks to come crashing down. Part of the #Twentyin2020 initiative by Jacaranda Books, this is a powerful, searingly honest memoir of survival, strength and courage.
Promising review: “A compelling, rarely heard perspective” – FESTMAG
The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré
A story of a 14-year-old Nigerian girl, Adunni, who knows education is the only way that she—and all of the girls like her—can follow their dreams. When she is sold into marriage and driven into servitude, Adunni never gives up her fight to find her voice, and speak for herself and others like her.
Promising review: “Fearless . . . a celebration of girls who dare to dream and those who help them unfurl their wings so they might soar” – Imbolo Mbue