In case you are thinking of going global and want to read some outstanding bestseller novels, the works of African Novelists are an excellent place to start. African literature is available on the world’s biggest book platform Amazon so the image that African literature is available only to students is gone. This image has also long been swept away by the enthusiasm and vibrancy of ongoing literary exploration on the continent. Here is a list of some Amazon Bestsellers By African Authors that you must read.
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1. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian author who has written Amazon bestsellers like Purple Hibiscus (2003) and Americanah (2013). Half of a Yellow Sun came out in 2006. The Thing Around Your Neck (2009) is her short story collection. In 2018, she got the PEN Pinter Prize.
The book is set before and during the Nigerian Biafra and civil war in the late 1960s, and it follows numerous characters whose lives are intertwined. Adichie’s characters are multifaceted, but she maintains complete control over how she presents in all of their complexity throughout the novel. Not only their lives are troubled, but the characters also deal with toxicity in their daily life.
2. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
Who Fears Death was published in 2010 by Dahl as a standalone novel. There is a prequel called The Book of Phoenix, published five years later in 2015. A post-apocalyptic Africa is the setting for Who Fears Death. The book tells of a woman annihilated by her community, raped by a soldier, and who gives birth to a daughter, Onyesonwu, meaning “Who Fears Death”. Onyesonwu now has to find her place in a world where her features mean she will be ostracised by the community. That notwithstanding, someone is trying to kill her. Buy it on Amazon.
3. White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
White Is for witching came out in 2009. It is set in the present day in Dover, a place in the South East of England. This book follows the family that owns a house on the cliffs of Dover, and they run it as a bed-and-breakfast venue. The main character is Miranda, who has pica and so eats chalk.
4. Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo
Published in 2017, Stay with me is about a married couple in Nigeria, Yejide and Akin, who want children. Akin’s family decides to find him a second wife to keep the family line, a standard practice for men in this culture. However, it upsets Akin and Yejide because they want a monogamous marriage. Being a very sensitive topic, it is no wonder the book is on the Amazon Bestsellers list.
5. The Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe
This book, published in 1964, is the third novel by Chinua Achebe. Along with Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease, it is a part of the African trilogy, sharing similar settings and themes. The novel centres on Ezeulu, the chief priest of several Igbo villages in colonial Nigeria. He confronts colonial powers and Christian missionaries in the 1920s.
6. No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe
Released in 1960, this has been a favourite for decades. It tells the story of Obi Okonkwo and his tribe. Obi gets a scholarship that his tribe in his tiny town pays for and goes to Europe for studies. On his return, he has to repay the money his tribe spent on him. It is the tale of how he gets corrupt, takes a bribe and ends up in prison. Purchase the book on Amazon.
7. Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
Cry the Beloved Country, released in 1948, is a tale of race. Kamala and Jarvis are two fathers from two different races and cultures. Kamala is a black country priest, while Jarvis is a white landowner. The story takes place against social and justice issues, mainly concerning the idea that the white race is better than the black race. Alan weaves this thought in every line of the book. Both fathers are searching for their sons. In Kamala’s case, the search for his son Absalom is physical. Absalom leaves for Johannesburg a few years later, and Kamala worries about him. Kamala embarks on a quest to find him, only to find that Absalom is now a thief. Buy it on Amazon.
8. Americana by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah came out in 2013. It was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and is a highly acclaimed novel. It’s about a girl, Ether Melu, who grows up in Nigeria and moves to the U.S. for university. She spends about 13 years in America before coming back to Nigeria. It also follows her high school sweetheart, Bronze, who fails to follow her to the U.S., so they drift apart. He moves to Britain for a while, then back to Nigeria, where he has a family. They eventually reunited after being apart from each other for about 15 years. Americanah is the definition of a good book and is one of Chimamanda’s best works. It is available on Amazon.
9. The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami
The Moor’s account was out in 2014. Moor’s account was a Pulitzer Prize nominee for fiction in 2015. The book, set in the 1500s, is the story of the Narváez expedition. This expedition is an actual event in history. It took place when fellow Tina Wise was heading this expedition with the mission of colonisation, amassing wealth, combating indigenous tribes, and land grabbing. So, from the sound of it, you can tell that he is a very pompous and very ambitious man. He’s ready to do whatever he can to complete his mission, and the minute they start sailing, they come across a series of misfortunes. Everything that could go wrong goes wrong.
These Amazon bestsellers novels are for all readers.
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