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Baking Cakes in Kigali Hardcover – 1 Jan 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 105 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; Main edition (1 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843549859
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843549857
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 3.3 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 845,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“A charming and beautifully written novel of life in a country recovering from terrible horrors. Beguiling…Gaile Parkin’s creation Angel Tungaraza is sure to win over readers.” —"Bookseller
"

"From the Hardcover edition."

"A charming and beautifully written novel of life in a country recovering from terrible horrors. Beguiling...Gaile Parkin's creation Angel Tungaraza is sure to win over readers." --"Bookseller
"

"From the Hardcover edition."

A charming and beautifully written novel of life in a country recovering from terrible horrors. Beguiling Gaile Parkin s creation Angel Tungaraza is sure to win over readers. "Bookseller
"

"From the Hardcover edition."" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Gaile Parkin was born and raised in Zambia, and studied at universities in South Africa and England. She has lived in many different parts of Africa, including Rwanda, where Baking Cakes in Kigali is set. She is currently a freelance consultant in the fields of education, gender and HIV/AIDS.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Z. Herbert VINE VOICE on 31 Dec. 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Set in Rwanda, the intriguing quality of this novel lies in its incongruity: it deals with the aftermath of genocide with a surreal serenity. There is nothing in the writing style that is tense, ugly or staccato; what shocks is how matter-of-fact the characters are about the horrors they have endured. They have all been touched intimately by war and have for the most part survived in one fashion or another.

It is this question of survival that forms the leitmotif for the whole book. The various methods people use are explored through the experiences of the protagonists. The author offers no opinion on the 'correct' way but simply suggests how such unfortunates manage to survive at all.

The main character, Angel, is well-defined and believable in her calm manner and common-sense approach to her situation. I found some of the minor characters difficult to distinguish one from another because they are sketched almost thumbnail against the backdrop of compound life and not clearly enough defined on introduction.

It is hard to comment on the plot because there is not really a definable start-middle-end. The action strolls along much like life itself, which gives the book a familiar and almost insubstantial feel.

Towards the end, I felt a tighter editing would have helped as the prose meanders a little; the outline, vague to start with, grows fuzzy as it nears the horizon.

All in all, I found this novel easy to read, enlightening and sensitively written. It addresses a very difficult subject without any pathos or hysteria and is written with a lightness of touch that is refreshing.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This style of this book is very much akin to the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series and Angel (the cake-maker in question) is very similar in many ways to Precious Ramotswe - wise, diplomatic, gently philosophical and traditionally built. But this story is set against a backdrop of unimaginable suffering - the Rwandan genocide and the subsequent AIDS epidemic. Each character has a different, often heart-breaking, story to tell. Ultimately though this book celebrates the endurance of the human spirit and remains humorous and up-beat. Angel's business thrives because, despite everything, people still have things to celebrate. Angel herself is a wonderful character, always ready to see the best in others and to do what she can to improve their situations. I really learned a lot from this book!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
'Baking Cakes In Kigali' is an absolutely delightful read. When I first came across the book, Alexander McCall's 'No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency' came to mind and they certainly share a homey, quaint atmosphere. However, set in post-genocidal Rwanda, and with the spectre of AIDs, "the sickness", always looming, the joy and the sorrow we encounter in the story contrast more sharply.

The book brims with life, its characters beautifully imagined and easy to love, each with their own quirks. Angel, the main character, is a no-nonsense, caring woman and even though in Kigali she is surrounded by the painful memories of so many other people, her own sorrows are dealt with poignantly. Humour softens the story's edge, and the author has a wonderful way with words - laugh out loud moments are guaranteed.

'Baking Cakes In Kigali' is not a fast-paced thriller but nevertheless it takes a hold of you so that you will only put the book down with the greatest reluctance. It creates a world you yearn to read more about, to immerse yourself in. I also think it will appeal to a wide range of people, with its themes of reconciliation, feminism and what Africa really means. My one criticism of the book is that I would've liked to read about the outcome of the event at the ending, although if more books about Angel and her world are to come, I won't mind waiting.

Recommended to everyone!
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By Mr Gumby TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 Feb. 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This highly entertaining story is set six years after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Angel Tungaraza is a Tanzanian woman who moved there with her family following the genocide. She lives in an apartment block in Kigali where aid workers and Rwandans mingle, and the story is centred there. Angel is a keen baker of colourful and mouth-watering cakes which she tailors skilfully to the requirements of friends and neighbours.

But this is no lightweight tale of cosy family life. There is real substance to the fourteen sections of the novel. In each, Angel bakes a cake for a celebration full of promise but taking place in the terrible shadow of the past. She also manages to provide help to her clients without their realising it. The story is moving without being upsetting in its portrayal of women survivors who represent hope for the future.

Gaile Parkin has spent a lifetime in Africa. In Rwanda, she counselled survivors of the genocide. She does a wonderful job in this, her first novel, of conjuring up strong images of Rwanda, injecting humour as she goes. I recommend it highly.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book by Gaile Parkin. It is charming, moving and full of gentle humour. This is a story of Angel Tungaraza who runs a small cake busines in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda after the war is over. Her neighbours and her customers tell her their painful stories and she realises that there is one thing that unites them all and that is the human spirit. It is a feel good story and I couldn't put it down. It restored my faith in human beings.
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