We Need New Names

by NoViolet Bulawayo Elizabeth Z. Tshele | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0701188049 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingiiwiwing of Zeist, Utrecht Netherlands on 7/20/2008
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8 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingiiwiwing from Zeist, Utrecht Netherlands on Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Ray:
-ApoloniaX
-sarahmangan
-Tarya
-Sintra
-Blue_berry
-kisses-cuddles
-raluk68
-Okyrhoe
-Andrasthe
-Billbooks

The label features my cat Kira, who became 20 years old last year.

Journal Entry 2 by wingiiwiwing at Utrecht, Utrecht Netherlands on Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Spoilers!

NoViolet Bulawayo is a raw, new voice from Zimbabwe. Her short story Hitting Budapest allready won the Caine prize for African Literature and her novel We need new names is on the shortlist of 2013th Bookerprize. Her voice is grounded in the performance poets, sometimes reminding me of Patti Smiths lyrics. Parts of this book could be beautiful recited in a dark venue, sweating, pushing forward, grinding over the stage.
This is the sound of the new Africa, not colorful, with forest ghosts in the jungle, but raw, without future, with 'the Sickness', girls raped before ten years old and death. The only Arfican man, forest ghost, with leopardskin and spear in this book, is in a mental asylum in Detroit, eventually shot by policeofficers.
The young protagonists from the first part of the book, ten, eleven, twelve years old, look at their country still open, playing Find Bin Laden or stealing guavas from trees in gardens in the uptown place. One is already pregnant by her grandfather. The chapter in which the children, without any idea whats however, try to commit an abortion, is one of the most grinding of the book. The world, with terrorism, NGO's, white and black, through their eyes is completely different then through ours. We would not think of a game as Find Bin Laden, and otherwise youth workers would soon enough intervene.
Darling, the real protagonist in the book, eventually flies to Detroit on a tourist visa, where she gets lost hopelessly in homesickness and a search for herself. Her friends in Zimbabwe don't think she Zimbabwe is her country anymore, therefor she should have staid and feel the bad luck, instead of reading about it on her I-pad. In America she is not American. American, crazy about anything genuine African, keep seeing her that way. Besides, her aunt, by whom she stays, and Darling herself only have a tourist visa. They can't go out of the States, because they can't get in again if they do. Contrast to her aunt, who keeps talking English the Zimbabwean way, Darling tries the snooty American way, with the likes and the fa-bou-lous, but does not become any more American by it.
With her friends from the street in Detroit she explores her sexuality, by looking at pornmovies on the internet in alphabetical order, making their own sounds. When they go joyriding to the mall in Detroit with her friends, this does not seem so much different then stealing guavas in Budapest, Zimbabwe.
This book started as a short story, the Hitting Budapest of the Caine prize, which in the book is the first (and best) chapter. You feel this reading along, every chapter is his own short story. Due to that the book is a bit fragmented. Despite of this, and despite the fact I found Darling hopelessly pubertal in some cases, NoViolet Bulawayo had her own wholesome voice.

Journal Entry 3 by wingApoloniaXwing at Bremen, Bremen Germany on Wednesday, November 20, 2013
It just arrived! Thanks a lot, iiwi, I'll start reading tonight.

Journal Entry 4 by wingApoloniaXwing at Bremen, Bremen Germany on Saturday, November 23, 2013
Brilliant.
I wish this book had won this year's Booker Prize instead of The Luminaries (which I'm not even interested to read) (or A Time for the Time Being which I also enjoyed a lot).
A coming-of-age 'novel' about migration, about Africa and North America, about cultural conflicts, it's hard to put down, a real page-turner. Darling, the protagonist, is a keen observer, her comments are hilarious, whether she describes life in a slum called Paradise or culture shock in the USA. NoViolet Bulawayo has crammed a lot of topics into the book - Zimbabwe's colonial past, Mugabe's rule, corruption, foreign aid, poverty, hunger, rape, witch doctors, Chinese investors, AIDS, elections etc. etc. (and that's just the first half of the book) - but it never feels overloaded, also because it's so extremely well written. I liked the structure, how the author makes us dive into Darling's life at some point and then quickly moves forward to the next stop - it's less of a novel than inter-connected short stories. (The Yeats/Achebe quote is a bit over-used though.)
Highly recommendable.

Journal Entry 5 by wingApoloniaXwing at Bremen, Bremen Germany on Saturday, November 23, 2013

Released 6 yrs ago (11/24/2013 UTC) at Bremen, Bremen Germany

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Travelling to sarahmangan

Journal Entry 6 by sarahmangan at Nottingham, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Friday, November 29, 2013
Wow! I am utterly overwhelmed by your generosity ApoloniaX! The book ray arrived today with a little card and TWO wishlist books as well! Thank you so much! And thanks to iwii for starting the ray.

I have a library book and another ray to read ahead of this but I should get to it fairly quickly I think. Really looking forward to it as I've already read 7 of the booker long listed books from this year and I have loved 5 of them. The Luminaries is well worth the effort though ApoloniaX!

Thanks again all for your generosity :)

Journal Entry 7 by sarahmangan at Nottingham, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Sunday, December 08, 2013
I really enjoyed this - Darling's narrative voice was really powerful and I liked to see the change in her. The way Bulawayo describes such difficult scenes and topics from a child's point of view makes the first part of the book very strong but very difficult to read at times. I think the descriptions of the group of children watching Bornfree's funeral, the attack on white home owners and the attempted abortion will stay with me for a long long time. Despite these really difficult scenes, it was very funny at times too. The second part of the book was less interesting I felt, but the description of an immigrant's life was still very interesting.

Thanks very much for giving me the opportunity to read it.

Journal Entry 8 by sarahmangan at Nottingham, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Sunday, December 15, 2013

Released 6 yrs ago (12/16/2013 UTC) at Nottingham, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom

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Book is on its way to the next reader. :)

Journal Entry 9 by wingTaryawing at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Monday, December 23, 2013
Bulawayo's book arrived today, just in time for Christmas :) And it hadn't travelled alone ;) Thank you for the book, the joyful X-mas card and the calender with cute cats, sarahmangan! Did you notice the November cat that had fallen asleep after reading a book :D

I'm looking forward to reading this book because this year I've found Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and after reading The Thing Around Your Neck and Americanah I just love her. I'm hoping to find something similar in Bulawayo ;)

Thank you again, and Merry Christmas!

Journal Entry 10 by wingTaryawing at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Tuesday, February 18, 2014
For some reason I could not find the right bookring thread so I came here to humbly ask for some more time for reading this book.. I'm reading it now and I've enjoyed every page of it :) I know I'm already late *embarrassed* but could I get one more week to finish the book? So I would send it to Sintra at the beginning of next week (Monday 24th or Tuesday 25th)? Please? :)

Edit 20.2.2014: Great, thanks! I've already got Sintra's address ;)

Edit 26.2.2014: A slight delay still, I'll make a JE and mail the book when I get back home during the weekend..

Journal Entry 11 by wingiiwiwing at Utrecht, Utrecht Netherlands on Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Sure, no problem!

Journal Entry 12 by wingTaryawing at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Lately I've read a few novels and short stories by young African (female) authors and they've become my favourites, and so did this one. What an excellent book this is! The child's perspective makes it fresh and the serious and bad things - that sadly are a part of everyday life for Darling and her friends - are somehow easier to deal with when the storyteller is an innocent child, just trying to cope and make the best of what there is.

The descriptions of culture and local habits are interesting, and in a strange way there seems to be joy and hope even while people live in such a poverty and face violence. Also the political aspects are intriguing, like the elections back home (in Zimbabwe) and the immigrant issues in the US.

Thank you for letting me read this book! I hope there'll be a new Bulawayo book published soon ;)

I'm sorry for keeping the book so long, but tomorrow I'll mail it to Sintra. Thank you all for your patience!

Journal Entry 13 by wingTaryawing at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Released 5 yrs ago (3/20/2014 UTC) at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland

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The book will now travel to the next reader in the bookring/ray. Safe journey!

Journal Entry 14 by sintra at Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Monday, March 24, 2014
The book arrived safely in Bonn and will be read soon. Thanks a lot! :)

Journal Entry 15 by sintra at Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Tuesday, May 13, 2014
I really enjoyed this book. It has such a strong narrative voice and addresses a number of issues of life in Zimbabwe and as an immigrant in a way that often made me laugh and shudder at the same time. I'll definitely watch out for more novels by this great new author.

Thanks for sharing this book! It will be on its way again soon. :)

Journal Entry 16 by Blue_berry at Croydon, Greater London United Kingdom on Monday, June 02, 2014
Received with thanks, I'll be reading this soon.

Journal Entry 17 by Blue_berry at Croydon, Greater London United Kingdom on Tuesday, June 17, 2014
This book came better towards the end, so that at the end I could not put it down. I found the beginning very depressing; all the poverty, depravity and powerlessness from a child's point of view is quite daunting to think about. However, it was powerfully told and gave a good contrast to Darling's life in the US as an immigrant. Very thought provoking and original read.

Journal Entry 18 by Blue_berry at London, Greater London United Kingdom on Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Released 5 yrs ago (6/17/2014 UTC) at London, Greater London United Kingdom

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Sending to the next reader in the BR, enjoy!

Journal Entry 19 by kisses-cuddles at Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Arrived safe and sound. 3/4 through a book atm. But will get to this one by Monday promise x

Journal Entry 20 by kisses-cuddles at Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire United Kingdom on Sunday, August 10, 2014
Wow, what a book. Funny yet at time harrowing. I can relate to the loss of identity/ trying to find a new one. I moved to the UK from Australia to be with my husband and homesickness can be debilitating. I agree the book was a bit disjointed but a great read.
Thanks for sharing.
I have sent raluk68 two PM's now (10 Aug and just now)... I will wait until Friday and than try to contact the next person on the list?

Journal Entry 21 by kisses-cuddles at Book Ring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Monday, September 08, 2014
Have sent the book onto Okyrhoe as raluk68 eventually got in touch and said to pass to the next. The book was sent on Friday 5th September.

Happy reading!

Journal Entry 22 by okyrhoe at Athens - Αθήνα, Attica Greece on Saturday, October 04, 2014
Arrived in Athens. Thanks iiwi for including me in the ray, and kisses-cuddles for posting the book to me!

I have a broken hand and may take some time to read this as it is not easy to hold objects, I hope this is OK.

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