Longlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize
‘To play the country-game, we have to choose a country. Everybody wants to be the USA and Britain and Canada and Australia and Switzerland and them. Nobody wants to be rags of countries like Congo, like Somalia, like Iraq, like Sudan, like Haiti and not even this one we live in – who wants to be a terrible place of hunger and things falling apart?’
Darling and her friends live in a shanty called Paradise, which of course is no such thing. It isn’t all bad, though. There’s mischief and adventure, games of Find bin Laden, stealing guavas, singing Lady Gaga at the tops of their voices. They dream of the paradises of America, Dubai, Europe, where Madonna and Barack Obama and David Beckham live. For Darling, that dream will come true. But, like the thousands of people all over the world trying to forge new lives far from home, Darling finds this new paradise brings its own set of challenges – for her and also for those she’s left behind.
©2013 NoViolet Bulawayo (P)2013 Random House AudioGo
"Darling is 10 when we first meet her, and the voice Ms. Bulawayo has fashioned for her is utterly distinctive — by turns unsparing and lyrical, unsentimental and poetic, spiky and meditative... stunning novel... remarkably talented author" (New York Times)
"Bulawayo’s novel is not just a stunning piece of literary craftsmanship but also a novel that helps elucidate today’s world" (Daily Telegraph)
"We Need New Names is full of life -- you can almost feel the sun on your arms and hear the birds in the trees -- and Bulawayo is certainly one to watch" (Stylist)
"original, witty and devastating" (People Magazine)
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"Started nicely but withered towards the end"
The story was first exiting but became dull towards the end. Fun to learn about African culture anf mentality.
"Our hunt for guavas!"
Yes. It is an understated child's view of life in a vulnerable situation.
Stealing guavas. It reminded me of stealing apples when I was young.
Intonation and articulation of the language speak. I'm a big fan of language in its many forms, particularly when it gives life to a character as Robin Miles did.
The book made me laugh and cry. I grew up in an unsettled Britain, ie; IRA, civil riots. It just reaffirmed my view that I had it great, no doubt, compared to African children being subjected, and still, to violence and abuse. However, the characters are there to hold you up, and make you laugh and smile through their cheekiness. That's children for you.Resilient.
"Poor Narration: Zimbabwean/Carribean accent?"
No Violet Bulawayo is a fair writer. I don't see anything particularly special about this book. I am a South African reader and stories in this style abound.
I think it's a real shame the producers didn't bother to find a Zimbabwean narrator. Robin Miles sounds half Carribean. The accent is 70% correct, but the pronunciation of the 'a' sound is poor (e.g. laugh is pronounced lorf instead of 'lef') and o is totally incorrect. (e.g. pronounces come as "com" whereas it is pronounced almost the same way as in southern UK English). There must be hundreds of thousands of well educated Zimbabweans looking for work... Why didn't the author read it herself? This aspect of the audiobook totally ruined it for me, as I kept waiting for the next error in pronunciation.
Not one where she assumes an African accent!
"Terrific First Person Voice"
I really liked this story but what happened to the reader?
She is amazingly skilled with Nigerian and American accents but somewhere in the middle the voice and accent changes for no apparent reason, then returns, then again.
I should have asked for a refund and bought the novel on paper.
It was like a spliced film. What happened and why?
"A Must for Westerners to Read"
We see the newsreels of the corruption of the Zimbabwe government; rigged elections, seizure of white farms etc and are appalled. Through the eyes of 10 year-old Darling we witness at first-hand the intense suffering and starvation this brings to the very people whose lives they were meant to improve. More than any news story, this book made me feel outraged that they are allowed to continue their unremitting destruction of their beautiful country and people.
Emigration to America seems like the answer but is fraught with problems of a different nature; the constant fear of capture as an illegal immigrant, homesickness and constant demands from relatives back home for hard-earned money.
Though there were a few chapters where my concentration lagged, No Violet Bulawayo is a naturally gifted writer and I found most of the book riveting. Robin Miles is a first class narrator. I don’t know if she has spent time in Africa but her accents and pronunciations were spot on. Her slow transition from Zimbabwean to American accent during the second half of the book was subtle and skilful. I recommend this audiobook firstly because it is a captivating story and secondly because it reminds us how fortunate we are to live in this country.
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