This is Pulitzer prize-winning novelist Philip Caputo's heart-wrenching novel set in The Sudan. Deeply informative, it looks with brutal honesty and factual detail at the war, corruption and tribal conflict, yet it is also a powerful narrative focusing on a host of fictional western characters from missionaries, to aid-workers to pilots. Caputo takes us beyond moral dilemmas, beyond good and evil, to a country where it is a question of doing what is necessary in order to survive.
A rare novella from exquisite travel writer Bruce Chatwin, which describes the journey of a Portuguese Brazilian to Africa in 1812, determined to make his fortune in the slave trade. Marvellous, visual prose paints a hypnotic picture of both Benin and Brazil.
Booker prize-winning novel from J. M. Coetzee set in a surreal, dystopian South Africa. It is the story of a simpleton, struggling to make sense of the horror that surrounds him and fighting to find a life that is innocent and pure. An extraordinary, memorable piece of writing.
Booker prize-winning novel which tells the story of David Lurie, a dissatisfied, middle aged university professor who is humiliated when an affair with a student is made public. He flees the city to move in with his daughter on her small farm. Yet an attack perpetrated on Lurie and his daughter will again bring into question his fundamental moral fibre. Haunting, provocative book dealing with both male middle-age and South African politics.
Drosso uses the fictional story of two Levantine sisters born in 1920s Cairo to give a human shape to her history of the city. Their struggle to adapt through civil unrest, violence, anti-British sentiment and Nasser's government, retraces the many evolutions of Cairo during the 20th century.
A collection of four novels about a group of expatriates living in Egypt before and after the Second World War. Worth reading in this combined edition because the novels take the same events and describe them through four different perspectives, toying with notions of relativity. The acutely observed descriptions and Durrell's literary craftsmanship make this a modern classic. With a new introduction by Jan Morris.
Promised in marriage to an older man, Ebla flees her rural village, but to her dismay she must rely on men even in her freedom. This is a powerful yet hopeful indictment of the treatment of women in Somali society and an insight into its culture.
Flawed but nonetheless gripping, this is a light-weight novel from the author of The Last King of Scotland. Both a thriller and a love story, the plot centres on an ex-CIA agent, an aid worker and a bureaucrat, and is set on the evocatively-described island of Zanzibar.
A thriller set in Uganda, this is the story of a young Scottish doctor who becomes the darling of the Amin dictatorship. Foden's fictional approach grabs you by the scruff of the neck, keeping you utterly gripped and allowing him to reveal the horror, corruption, violence and extraordinary nature of Idi Amin and his regime.
A beautifully crafted tale of two triangular relationships separated by a generation in Freetown, Sierra Leone. During the political unrest of 1969, two academics at the same university become infatuated with the same woman. Thirty years later, in the aftermath of the brutal civil war, a disillusioned Psychologist takes up a post in Sierra Leone as a means of escaping his disintegrating marriage. An emotionally commanding novel with surprising twists.
Foulds describes the Mau Mau uprising and its brutal suppression by the British through the eyes of a young English boy returning to his home farm in Kenya. Extraordinary in its intensity and depth, Foulds more than proves poetry’s unique and overwhelming power to shock and educate.
In the 1960s a young woman decided to take her children to live in Marrakesh. Their adventure is narrated by the youngest daughter who describes their unconventional life, their cast of new friends and the difficulties of making peace between a hippie mother and a sister who craves stability. Charming, unsentimental and evocative.
In the style of Slumdog Millionare and City of God, this tells the story of Tsotsi, a violent, gang leader living in a Johannesburg township. His life is turned upside down when a potential rape victim forces a baby into his hands. A novel about hardship, misery and rage as a means of survival and hope.
A young drifter embarks on a series of disastrous journeys through Greece, India and Africa in this brief and beguiling novel. Each represents a voyage of discovery for the South African narrator, whose encounters with other travellers force him into confrontation with his own feelings of inertia, compassion and thwarted desire.
A series of short stories set in Zimbabwe under the brutal regime of Robert Mugabe. Gappah's range of delightful characters are intriguing, sympathetic and often very amusing. Winner of the 2009 Guardian First Book Award.
Three novellas from Martha Gellhorn about Europeans living in East Africa in the 1930s. At times a cruel place for a young orphaned Englishman, two sisters returning home and a woman trying to forget her grief over her son's death, the Africa of Gellhorn's captivating stories can be very beautiful.
A searing portrait of post-democratic South Africa from one of the world's best-known chroniclers of apartheid. Once clandestine lovers under racist laws forbidding sexual relations between white and black, Steven and Jabulile find themselves 'free' to live on their own terms. But, in a country not yet comfortable with its new self, the couple remains haunted by the moral ambiguities and mass poverty imposed by these new freedoms.
A famous architect, tired with his life and its amusements, travels to the Congo to spend some time in a leper colony. His work for the sick inhabitants soon helps him to recover from his lethargy, until the white inhabitants discover who he is and what he's done. Interesting psychological exploration into the modern condition and the absence of meaning.
Based on a true story, Tahar Ben Jelloun's novel tells of Salim, a young student incarcerated in a prison below the Moroccan desert for a failed coup against the King. Salim is kept in a cell completely devoid of light, smaller than standing height and fed just enough to avoid starvation. Both fascinating and horrifying in equal measure, this is the perfect book for anyone who enjoyed Henri Charriere's Papillon or Brian Keenan's Evil Cradling.
Thomas Keneally uses his compelling story about a group of foreigners travelling to Asmara to bring attention to a virtually unreported civil war and help the West to understand a desperate, misunderstood conflict.