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Namwali Serpell

Författare till The Old Drift: A Novel

7+ verk 939 medlemmar 30 recensioner

Om författaren

Namwali Serpell has won the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story 'The Sack'. Published in the collection Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara. (Bowker Author Biography)

Inkluderar namnet: C. Namwali Serpell

Verk av Namwali Serpell

The Old Drift: A Novel (2019) 681 exemplar
The Furrows (2022) 179 exemplar
Seven Modes of Uncertainty (2014) 11 exemplar
La deriva (2021) 2 exemplar

Associerade verk

The Best American Short Stories 2009 (2009) — Bidragsgivare — 362 exemplar
Reader, I Married Him: Stories Inspired by Jane Eyre (2016) — Bidragsgivare — 301 exemplar
The Uncanny Reader: Stories from the Shadows (2015) — Bidragsgivare — 70 exemplar
Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara (2014) — Bidragsgivare — 65 exemplar
A Life in Full and other stories (2010) — Bidragsgivare — 23 exemplar
To See the Mountain and other stories (2011) — Bidragsgivare — 23 exemplar


Allmänna fakta

Namn enligt folkbokföringen
Serpell, Carla Namwali
Zambia (birth)
USA (naturalized)
Land (för karta)
Lusaka, Zambia
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Yale University
Harvard University
Priser och utmärkelser
Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award (2011)



DNFing this one... For now? I don't think this is a bad book but it is just... Dense. And, quite honestly I don't think I'm in the right mindset for it at the moment. May come back to this at some point.
escapinginpaper | 21 andra recensioner | May 18, 2024 |
Review of the Amazon Original Kindle eBook edition (June 27, 2019)

I would fain have them believe that I have been, in some measure, the slave of circumstances beyond human control. - excerpt from "William Wilson" (1839*) by Edgar Allan Poe, used as the epigraph for Will Williams.

I've read some good reviews recently about the Disorder series and realized that I hadn't finished reading all 6 stories myself, although there had been a few good ones and only one dud. So I circled back to catch Will Williams. It was unfortunately another dud. It took Edgar Allan Poe's story of a doppelgänger who haunts their namesake and transplants it from Poe's early 19th century England setting to a gangsta setting in America. It was cringe throughout with multiple uses of the n word and "feel me?" on almost every page. The various setups (various confrontations and fights) and the conclusion are almost identical except for the changed locales.

Will Williams is the 6th of 6 short stories/novellas in the Amazon Original Disorder Series. “Stories that get inside your head. From small-town witch hunts to mass incarceration to exploitations of the flesh, this chilling collection of twisted short stories imagines the horrors of a modern world not unlike our own.”

Trivia and Links
Edgar Allan Poe's William Wilson (1839*) is in the Public Domain and can be read online at various sources. An excellent location is the annotated version at which you can read here.

* For some unexplained reason lists 1842 as the year of publication for William Wilson. Goodreads has it as January 1839. The story first appeared in Burton's Gentleman's Magazine in October 1839 and was then collected in Tales Of The Grotesque and Arabesque (1840).
See cover at
… (mer)
alanteder | 1 annan recension | Apr 15, 2024 |
I must be getting cranky in old age and should cut down my reading of fiction. I generally ask so little of an author: take me to a world I haven’t been before and make me glad I came.

I can’t unequivocally say that about Namwali Serpell’s “The Old Drift.”

There is much to like and admire in Serpell’s saga about a family and the travails of the Zambian nation, but by the end of it there were too many question marks, magical sideshows, and wish fulfillment that I wasn’t entirely glad I came for the ride.

Moreover, the poverty and glumness of the human landscape were awfully trying.

There are certainly portraits of poverty, domestic violence, of philandering men, absconding fathers, and corrupt nations that ought to be read if not in this book, then some others. I acknowledge my need to upgrade my knowledge of Africa.

I’m not going to argue that colonialism wasn’t a plague on many of Africa’s nations, but this story doesn’t help me understand what is its long term meaning for African peoples. The Europeans were brutal to Africans. But Africans can be brutal to Africans and Europeans can be brutal to Europeans. So what else is new?

I found the novel episodic. I never understood the significance of the child with a hair growing disorder, and it took me a while to figure out why her mother’s employers were using her as amusement at decadent parties; and it took me even longer to realize the parties were in Italy and not Africa, where the novel opens.

Some of the sub-plots, for me anyway, are left hanging. A man murders his brother and steals his identity. That’s it. A clinic furthers the search for an AIDS vaccine. The clinic is surreptitiously burned to the ground. A doctor’s son continues his dad’s work but the reader is left wondering what happened to the work exactly.

A damn is constructed at the beginning of the book to deliver electricity to the extractive industries along the Zambezi River. Descendants of the originators of the dam return to it but exactly why is a little sketchy.

I didn’t quite get the climax, who wins and who loses. What exactly are people protesting: ancient history or the contemporary data-driven world we live in. I kinda think facebook and Google were the villains by the end of the book but even this is cloaked in innuendo.

There was something about the American-Chinese-international high tech conspiracy that left me a little confused. As if there were a new colonialism at work. The metaphor just didn’t hold water for me.

Because I am older I am looking for plausible behaviour in the characters. In this novel I find much of the behaviour as so obtuse I simple cannot identify with it on any level beyond that of juvenile, including that of the adults.

Not even if it were the most ingenious magical realism.

The acknowledgements at the end of the novel indicate a lot of writing workshops and mentors, but the novel was not ready for publication in my opinion.
… (mer)
MylesKesten | 21 andra recensioner | Jan 23, 2024 |
Engaging historical fiction that follows three generations from three families while artfully weaving in the history of Zambia. The final near-future section wasn't as successful but it was still an enjoyable read overall.
mmcrawford | 21 andra recensioner | Dec 5, 2023 |



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