We Need New Names

We Need New Names

A Novel

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
24
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Follows ten-year-old Zimbabwe native, Darling, as she escapes the closed schools and paramilitary police control of her homeland in search of opportunity and freedom with an aunt in America.
Publisher: New York : Reagan Arthur Books/Little Brown and Co., c2013.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780316230810
0316230812
Characteristics: 296 p. : maps ; 22 cm.

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m
myrtleturtle06
Nov 02, 2017

Zimbabwe

l
ladiablesse
Sep 04, 2017

What a great title: We Need New Names. And when it's spoken in the book, the context is benign, part of the kids' games distracting them from the oppression of life under Mugabe and AIDS. Yet at a deeper level, the book speaks to a more profound urgency for change, and the author's voice is brazenly oral: lyrical, harsh and unsparing, full of rich textures and musicality even as what she depicts is often brutal. Though less compellingly told, Darling's transition to Detroit charts different, more ambitious territory.
Bulawayo is a tremendously gifted writer; her voice is gorgeously oral, with an immediacy that demands attention. With contemporaries like Chimamanda Adichie and Yaa Gyaasi, Bulawayo brings a distinctive perspective and narrative voice to narratives from Africa, a continent of cultures, countries and literary traditions.

r
raar
Nov 15, 2015

I enjoy reading books set in other cultures and places - it's a great way to learn about the world. Writing from the perspective of a 10 year old girl gave the book a kind of innocence, but at the same time there was a moment in the book where I needed to put it down because I was about to be confronted with something that made me very uncomfortable.

PoMoLibrary Aug 21, 2015

From our 2015 #80DayRead Adult Summer Reading Club traveler Kate: Stephen King spoke about avoiding passive voice for good literature: Bulawayo takes this and soars with it. Packed with start contrasts between childlike innocence and the violence of the setting, Bulawayo pulls the reader along rapidly through the story: spitting you out at the end amazed at what you just read. Hard to put down.

u
uncommonreader
Jun 22, 2015

This novel was expanded from a 2011 Caine Prize story. The first part, set in Zimbabwe and told from the perspective of a child, provides a portrait of life under the latter part of Mugabe's reign; the second part, set in Detroit and told from the perspective of a teenager, presents the problems of immigration and assimilation. An interesting read.

eringate Apr 24, 2015

I really enjoyed this book...up until the time she arrived in America. I guess when you're describing your native country to readers (most of whom have never been) the words full richer and much more alive. Post displacement, the story takes a major tumble and I found myself skipping past some of the pages. I would recommend this story to anyone who is interested in reading it and may even read more of Ms. Bulawayo's work in the future.

j
JudithE
Apr 04, 2015

I couldn't quite become engrossed. In all fairness, my culture and the author's may just be too far apart. I don't know what the problem is, but I eventually stopped listening. I can see how it could be an important book for some people.

w
westiegrrl
Feb 11, 2015

Bulawayo is a writer to watch for. At the beginning, the narrative is set in a war and disease-ravaged Zimbabwe. 10 yr old Darling and her buddies live in a shanty town next to a rich white enclave. Along with playing "Find Bin Laden", they steal and then gorge themselves on guavas from the rich people's trees. Their life is hard but they have each other. Eventually, Darling emigrates to Michigan to live with her hard-working aunt. The transition is extremely abrupt and perhaps this is meant to signify Darling's experience. In this second section, the narrative felt more like vignettes as compared with the first section. Although stylistically this was somewhat challenging, Darling's voice is authentic and the prose is lyrical, even when describing horrifying events. I agree with one reviewer about the gratuitous violence at the very end of the book but will say no more about this to avoid spoilers.

a
alohatiki
Feb 10, 2015

I enjoyed this book. I thought it was a little slow in the beginning but then found it hard to put down.

r
ReidCooper
Jan 14, 2015

A truly original writer. I loved this novel.

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