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Lucy Gasser

scholar of literary & cultural studies, editor of poco.lit.

Tsitsi Dangarembga
This Mournable Body

This Mournable Body is undoubtedly an important book, but it’s more than a little difficult to read. The deservedly renowned Zimbabwean novelist, filmmaker and playwright Tsitsi Dangarembga presents a devastating portrait of her country after independence has finally been achieved, but has failed to produce the equitable utopia that the struggle seemed to promise would follow liberation from colonial oppression.

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Orientalism: A brief introduction

One of our aims with poco.lit. is to try to demystify some of the core ideas in and around postcolonial studies and the ways in which postcolonial literatures have been read. In this post, we take a look at Orientalism by Edward Said and some of its key contributions to thinking about colonial practices.

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Amitav Ghosh
In an Antique Land

This is a wonderfully strange book, and probably the most obvious reason for its strangeness is the confluence of genres it enacts. Ghosh’s book gives his readers both the findings of many years of research, and the story of his undertaking that research.

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Kati Kati

The blurb for Kati Kati runs “A young woman with no memory of her life or death, is helped with assimilation to the afterlife by a ghost.” So far, so weird. This Kenyan film delivers on this promise of weirdness in a wonderfully compelling and understated way.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates
Between the world and me

Between the world and me is a letter from a father to his son about living in the United States of America in a Black man’s body. There are moments in this book where the beauty of Coates’ prose is quite breath-taking, and the whole is sustained by an intellectual rigour that allows it to shine all the better

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Damon Galgut
The Promise

The Promise marks the third time a South African writer has won the Booker: Galgut joins fellow laureates Nadine Gordimer and JM Coetzee. The book is executed with a real skill for the craft of writing, and commands respect for the author’s handling of his medium.

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Keri Hulme
The Bone People

The Bone People, set on the South Island of New Zealand, is not always easy, but it’s absolutely worth the trouble. Over the course of reading it my relationship to it kept changing: from liking it, to hating it, to loving it; from wanting to redeem the characters, to loathing them, to taking them for what they were.

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Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Friday Black

Friday Black is the acclaimed first collection of short stories by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. He has a knack for locating the horror already existing in the everyday and drawing it to chilling yet strangely logical conclusions.

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