Month: April 2016

MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN post-colonial book review

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MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN

Let me start by saying this book is dense, Salman Rushdie took his time writing this book. We follow the story of the protagonist Saleem, who as the book progresses is falling apart more and more. (Literally)  This book is far from a fast pace book. If ever an award for a book that beats around the bush and alludes to things were given out, Midnight’s Children would win the award every time. There is a lot to take in. One of the biggest themes is fragmentation: Both of his body and the land. The book takes place during the territory conflict in India. Our protagonist is has abilities along with other people who share something in common with him. Throughout the novel Saleem is constantly reminded of the conflict, both internal and external, he has to deal with. This book does NOT lack in culture, from the character names to locations, Rushdie does a wonderful job importing the reader to India and Pakistan. Though this book does drag at times, Rushdie inserts a character to make fun of you for being bored and impatient. When you’ve heard those particular details three times already he tells them to you a fourth.

This book beats the reader over the head with its flamboyant mysticism–maddeningly repetitive, sickeningly self-conscious, pompous and insistent. It’s a smack-you-upside-the-head and shout-in-your-ear allegory.

 

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A MAN OF THE PEOPLE: post-colonial book review

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A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

If ever you have a conversation about post-colonial literature this should be one of the books mentioned.  What a gripping novel with descriptive characters and a plot line that keeps you at the end of your seat.  A Man Of The People explores post-colonialism with a satirical spin.

Achebe is able to tell his story of how destructive western influence is on a sociopolitical scale in regions of Africa. Achebe details a well-worded story about a corrupt Minister of Culture through the eyes of the protagonist, his former pupil in a fictional African country that may or may not represent Nigeria. Alienation from society and that society’s notions of wrong and right play a big role in the book, as well as familial relations that astounded me in a way I cannot really explain. But what makes A Man of the People a real delight is that, in this country which lacks in hopefulness most of the time, there is humor and witticism that Achebe places in the most strategic parts of the prose.

I give this book 4 out 5 stars. And a must have on your shelf!

Why literature representation matter.

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It’s been four years since I graduated high school and my reading has increased exponentially. The first year after graduating I didn’t read much. A few books here and there. I mostly re-reading books I had sitting around, to kill time while waiting for a family trip or to temporarily offset my boredom. By the third year I was an going to bookstores and buying books to read, or listening to the  audio versions. It wasn’t until I started blogging about the books I read that I realized what made me stop reading in the first place, the narratives.

My reading list for high was pretty standard. To Kill A Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men Wuthering Heights, and Shakespeare. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the value and validity of these books, but for an African American male this reading list is lacking. Yes, I understand that people say To Kill A Mockingbird is a timeless book. Sadly, all it really does is make white people feel less guilty about the oppression of black people, even though Atticus Finch never actually existed. That book and many of the others mentioned are assumed to be book all can enjoy. I didn’t enjoy wuthering Heights, I didn’t care for any of the families, Heathcliff bothered me, and I felt bad for the servant Nelly. I couldn’t get into reading these books because I couldn’t relate to them, I couldn’t see myself as them.

Now it’s hard to question why people don’t like to read books. So many things play into it, but I can be certain a big portion of it has to do with because for so long we’ve been forced to read books from people who write about perspectives we can’t relate too. How much can I gain from reading The Great Gatsby. Nothing, I could care less about a rich white man. I don’t want to read about a rich white man. I want to read about the Pecola Breedloves, Ali’s & Noodles  , et al.  I enjoy reading about me, something I wasn’t able to do in high school, but even that has been a challenge.

Walking into a bookstore, or searching through online websites can be a few shades of lackluster. Especially when you’re shopping for diversity. Ciswhite men dominate this industry. With there limited perspective on other people, or their lack on caring how they represent other characters outside of their protagonist.