LitPicks Book Reviews—December 2008

Theme—African Trio
A newly elected US president—half African; a reader requesting a book guide for Cry, the Beloved Country; and a daughter studying in Africa all served as inspiration for this month's LitPicks, beautiful books, all.
Labels: A Lighter Touch


The Syringa Tree
Pamela Gien, 2006
254 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
December 2008

Sometimes you fall in love—when you least expect it, and that's what happened from the first pages of this wonderful book.

Imaginative, independent Elizabeth is six years old, growing up with her white family in South Africa, during the final 25 years of apartheid. She is surrounded by loving parents and a houseful of black servants, who dote on her and with whom she's deeply bonded, especially her nanny, Salamina. It is through Lizzy's young eyes that we gradually see the brutality of that country's racist system.


Half of a Yellow Sun
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 2006
528 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
December 2008

This is a favorite book—an all time favorite, the kind that makes you stand in awe of the stunning power of literature.

Adichie has converted a tragic global event—the secession from Nigeria of ill-fated Biafra (1967-70)—into a rich, complex human drama, one that makes readers care deeply for the characters and their fates.
Labels: Great Works


Cry, the Beloved Country
Alan Paton, 1948
320 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
December 2008

Who hasn't read this, years ago as a school assignment? Believe me, it's worth another read—in fact, I'd forgotten how much I loved this book.

Beloved Countrytells the story of Stephen Kumalo, a black minister in South Africa, who tries to save his sister from prostitution, his son from a murder charge, and his tribe from disintegration.

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