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We need new names

· The novel ·

Darling flees from Africa but doesn’t find America. NoViolet Bulawayo’s book, We need new names (Little, Brown and Company, 2013) is fierce in the first part when Darling, a ten-year old girl, tells of her daily life in Zimbabwe amidst violence, hatred and poverty in a situation interspersed with corruption, tribal rituals further complicated by Christianity, and the presence of people from the West who only come to take sensational photographs. But it is also ferocious later, when Darling arrives in the United States, in search of her aunt who had emigrated to Michigan years before in search of work. The land of plenty doesn’t exist. There are solely the outskirts, patches of shade in which it is only possible to sit “on the edge of the chair, for how can you sit comfortably if you don’t know what will happen to you tomorrow?”. The novel recounts the collective tragedy of a people or of several peoples who live every day the laceration of abandonment. The author too left her native country as a young woman (she chose as her pseudonym the name of Zimbabwe’s second city, Bulawayo). However in the United States she became a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. (@GiuliGaleotti)

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