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The African experience and the migrant experience,
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This review is from: We Need New Names (Kindle Edition)
Darling is a young girl from a slum in Zimbabwe, out of school because the teachers all emigrated, who spends her days running around with her pack of friends and stealing guavas from the plush neighbourhood of Budapest. The prose in this story is deliciously written, and you can taste and smell her environment. A curious feature of the book is how Bulawayo switches between first person singular and plural seamlessly. The characters are well drawn, even with their weird names like Bornfree, Bastard, Mother of Bones, and the Prophet Revelations Bitchington Mborro. Though dealing with serious issues, there's a laugh a page in this book, and Darling is a pretty unsentimental narrator. The American section of the novel sees a shift in voice, and again this is skilfully handled, as we watch Darling try to change her accent and herself in order to adapt to her new environment. The difficulties of being a first generation migrant with no papers are emotive and make for compelling reading. Has to be one of the best African novels I've read in a long time.