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Samir's Critical Corner

I love good writing. Samir's Critical Corner will have reviews on World Literature but you will also find reviews on various subjects like Mathematics or Tai Chi, and on specific niches like Nigerian writers.

Currently reading

South Sea Tales (Oxford World's Classics)
Robert Louis Stevenson
Progress: 122/289 pages

Review: Jambula Tree and Other Stories

Jambula Tree and other stories: The Caine Prize for African Writing 8th Annual Collection - The Caine Prize for African Writing

A fantastic collection of short stories by African writers, featuring the winner of the Caine Prize of 2007 along with the 4 runner ups, as well as the shortlist stories for the 2008 prize and more. While a few authors have more than one story here, there is no room for monotony as each story tackles very different themes.

I have to say that the runner up story for the 2007 Prize was my favorite. 'My Parent's Bedroom' by Uwem Akpan (Nigeria) moved me and, what no other short story has done before, brought me to tears. It is about the Rwandan genocide at the doorsteps of a nine year old girl whose father is a hutu and mother is a tutsi. The horrific crime she has to witness and the near abuse she has to endure, all packed in a few pages of well written prose, had me itching for more by this writer. I know have a short story collection of his to look forward to.

I cannot recommend this collection enough. Anyone remotely interested in African fiction should give this a go. Of course, there are a few stories that are a little weaker than others but there is certainly something for everyone to enjoy. The writing is excellent and the subject matters are representative of life on the African continent.


Samir Rawas Sarayji