This year kicked off strongly with a pair of stunning novels, by two young writers of Ghanaian descent, Open Water (Viking) by Caleb Azumah Nelson and Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (Viking). Though very different novels, both explored the contours of love, grief and loss in heart-wrenchingly beautiful prose. Despite the high standard they set, the rest of the year remains very promising.
Later in March, we have poet and cultural critic, Hanif Abdurraqib’s A Little Devil in America (Allen Lane) – an essay collection celebrating the history and legacy of Black performance. It feels like a spiritual companion to his 2019 book Go Ahead in the Rain (Melville House), a biography of hip-hop group, A Tribe Called Quest and one of my favourite books of recent years. Like Go Ahead this book will meld the author’s historical analysis with meditations on his personal history of love and grief.
In a different vein but on the same wavelength is poet Kayo Chingonyi’s sophomore poetry colle...
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