Monday, January 04, 2010

Global Reading Challenge: Africa

Here in North America, I've been asked by a reader in Europe to prepare a list of crime fiction from Africa for a Global Reading Challenge. In the interest of promoting understanding in this globalized, interdependent, multipolar world, I'm happy to comply. Here's a selection of African crime writers and stories I've written about here at Detectives Beyond Borders.

I've recently featured Roger Smith, Meshack Masondo, Richard Kunzmann, Deon Meyer and Michael Stanley from South Africa. Mike Nicol, a novelist and keeper of the Crime Beat South Africa blog, has contributed to Detectives Beyond Borders as well. Crime Beat will also serve as a guide to far more African crime writers than I can mention here.

But there's more. From Algeria (actually from France, where he went into voluntary exile) Yasmina Khadra writes bleak, occasionally grimly humorous detective novels set amid the strife and carnage of 1990s Algiers. The Congolese author Alain Mabanckou wrote the satirical, creepy inside-the-killer's head African Psycho.

Daliso Chaponda, born in Malawi and subsequently a resident of Canada and the United Kingdom, offers a broadly satirical vision of dictatorship in his short story "Heroic Proportions."

Africa also gave the world one of the most distinguished authors ever to turn his hand to crime writing: the Egyptian Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz. His novel The Thief and the Dog is a bleak yet touching noir tale worthy of Jim Thompson or David Goodis.

Africa has also attracted the attention of crime writers from elsewhere, including Patricia Highsmith and Michael Pearce, who set his Mamur Zapt series in late colonial Egypt. Among Australia's fine crime writers, Peter Temple was born in South Africa, and David Owen was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in Malawi and Swaziland. Both are worth reading whether or not they satisfy the rules of this Global Reading Challenge or any other.

Happy reading wherever you may roam.

© Peter Rozovsky 2010

Labels: ,

25 Comments:

Blogger Dorte H said...

This is super, Peter! Thanks a lot!

(Rushing off as I have classes about the Elizabethan World View tomorrow - also a fascinating world, but I cannot teach it off-hand).

I will add a link in the links collection of the global blog.

January 04, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You're welcome. Report back when you have the Elizabethan world view down. Shakespeare wrote murder stories, and Marlowe lived one, so the era is relevant here.

January 04, 2010  
Blogger J. Kingston Pierce said...

Happy New Year, Peter.

You should note, too, that Soho Press is going to reissue the great James McClure's Lieutenant Kramer and Sergeant Zondi novels, set in South Africa, beginning with The Steam Pig in July. It's a series well worth reading.

Cheers,
Jeff

January 04, 2010  
Blogger Dorte H said...

You are right about Shakespeare, but don´t tell my students. We are going to read Hamlet after the introduction, and they may ask why we are ALWAYS reading crime fiction ;D

January 04, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks for the heads-up, J., and Happy New Year to you, too. Here’s James McClure’s obituary, for anyone who wants to know a bit more about him.

January 04, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Dorte, don't forget this Shakespeare crime story.

January 04, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

I remember having to convince you about The Thief and the Dogs some time back.

However the Best African crime novel is still L'Etranger.

January 04, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You're a revisionist, man. You told me about the novel; you didn't have to convince me to read it. I'd read and liked Mahfouz's work before. Next thing, you'll have threatened me with a Belfast six pack unless I read the book.

And thanks for SUGGESTING the novel. It's a fine one.

January 05, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

No I'm not saying you hated it or anything, if I recall you were talking about some other book that claimed to be the first Arabic crime novel which obviously was not true.

And L'Etranger still should be on the list. A crime novel set in Africa written by an African.

January 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That may have been that Moroccan novel The Final Wager (unless it was called The Final Bet). I don't remember the claim for it...Maybe it claimed to be the first Arabic detective story. I will investigate this.

January 05, 2010  
Blogger Dorte H said...

Peter: I haven´t ;)

I gave my students the choice between Macbeth or Hamlet so this year it will be Hamlet, but who knows what my next class will say?

January 05, 2010  
Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

My husband has been trying to get me to read THE THIEF AND THE DOG for a year. I am moving it up in the pile.

January 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Dorte, you have ambitious students. Julius Caesar and Macbeth were the plays of choice when I was in high school. I always assumed this was because they are two of Shakespeare's shortest.

January 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Patti, you married well.

January 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Dorte, here’s what this blog has had to say about Hamlet.

January 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, it appears that The Final Bet claims to be the first Arabic detective novel translated into English.

I mentioned Yasmina Khadra's Brahim Llob novels. He's from Aleria, but he writes in French.

January 06, 2010  
Blogger Dorte H said...

Thank you for the Hamlet link. As I am an academic, I also appreciate him as a hero :D

Yes, I think my students are ambitious. Many of them appreciate learning something new. But when I offer them Macbeth and Hamlet, that is because I think those dramas are the best! If I went for something easy, I would choose Romeo and Juliet.

January 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I wonder if these Shakespeare-crime fiction links might make Shakespeare more accessible in the classroom.

January 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I mean Shakespeare-crime fiction connections, of course, rather than the sort of links one clicks on a computer screen. Sad how the Internet has diminished our vocabulary, isn't it?

January 06, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i recommend watching "Secret of the Grain" and "Games of Love & Chance" to pair with your literary picks.

January 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks for the recommendations. Those might make good movie partbers for one's reading of Jean-Claude Izzo or of Rough Trade by Dominique Manotti.

January 07, 2010  
Blogger Lynda said...

Add Margie Orford to the list of South African crime fiction writers. Smart, sassy, sexy.

February 03, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. I knew her name but had heard little about her. I've also just received Jassy Mackenzie's novel, Random Violence. That's another for the list.

February 03, 2010  
Blogger Willow said...

Add the Nigerian book by ADIMCHINMA IBE - TREACHERY IN THE YARD. A good look at like inside one of the world's dirtiest cities, Port Harcourt.

June 10, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. That's an enticing plug, "One of the world's dirtiest cities."

June 10, 2011  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home