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NoViolet Bulawayo's first novel, We Need New Names, has been on my to-read list since I first heard about it late last year.

The story follows Darling, a 10-year old in Zimbabwe, and her friends Stina, Chipo, Godknows, Sbho and Bastard. They live together in a shanty called Paradise, and they spend their days stealing guavas, trying to get the baby out of Chipo's belly, and remembering. They remember when they had real names and real homes, before the paramilitary policemen came and destroyed everything and the schools were closed down. Before their fathers went abroad to work at dangerous jobs. The children dream of escaping...

Darling's dream, at least, is seemingly realized, as she moves to America to live with her Aunt. She finds that things aren't necessarily easier for her there, where her options as an immigrant are so few.

NoViolet Bulawayo's 2011 Caine Prize winning story Hitting Budapest, became the first chapter in this, now Booker long-listed novel.

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo Little, Brown and Company 9780316230810 May 21, 2013

 

9780316230810