We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
A Novel (NoViolet Bulawayo)

84%

8 Critic Reviews

What stops the book collapsing under its own thematic weight is a certain linguistic verve, and the sense that this is a really talented and ambitious author who might at any moment surprise the reader by a plot twist...
-Guardian

Synopsis

A remarkable literary debut -- shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize! The unflinching and powerful story of a young girl's journey out of Zimbabwe and to America.


Darling is only ten years old, and yet she must navigate a fragile and violent world. In Zimbabwe, Darling and her friends steal guavas, try to get the baby out of young Chipo's belly, and grasp at memories of Before. Before their homes were destroyed by paramilitary policemen, before the school closed, before the fathers left for dangerous jobs abroad.



But Darling has a chance to escape: she has an aunt in America. She travels to this new land in search of America's famous abundance only to find that her options as an immigrant are perilously few. NoViolet Bulawayo's debut calls to mind the great storytellers of displacement and arrival who have come before her-from Junot Diaz to Zadie Smith to J.M. Coetzee-while she tells a vivid, raw story all her own.
 

About NoViolet Bulawayo

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NoViolet's story "Hitting Budapest," the opening chapter of the novel, won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing. NoViolet's other work has been shortlisted for the 2009 SA PEN Studzinsi Award, and has appeared in Callaloo, The Boston Review, Newsweek, and The Warwick Review, as well as in anthologies in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the UK. NoViolet recently earned her MFA at Cornell University, where her work has been recognized with a Truman Capote Fellowship. She will be attending Stanford in the fall as a Wallace Stegner Fellow for 2012-2014. NoViolet was born and raised in Zimbabwe.
 
Published May 21, 2013 by Reagan Arthur Books. 305 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for We Need New Names
All: 8 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Uzodinma Iweala on Jun 07 2013

And yet, despite the course of the latter half of the novel, Bulawayo is clearly a gifted writer. She demonstrates a striking ability to capture the uneasiness that accompanies a newcomer’s arrival in America...

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on May 15 2013

...Ms. Bulawayo gives us snapshots of Zimbabwe that have the indelible color and intensity of a folk art painting...

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Helon Habila on Jun 20 2013

What stops the book collapsing under its own thematic weight is a certain linguistic verve, and the sense that this is a really talented and ambitious author who might at any moment surprise the reader by a plot twist...

Read Full Review of We Need New Names: A Novel (N... | See more reviews from Guardian

NPR

Excellent
Reviewed by Ellah Allfrey on May 30 2013

Even as she applies her critical eye to the social realities of her homeland, Bulawayo gives her protagonist a voice imbued with dignity and pride.

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Kirkus

Good
on Mar 11 2013

Bulawayo crafts a moving and open-eyed coming-of-age story.

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Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by Suzi Feay on Sep 20 2013

The way Darling’s narrative voice, so vivid in the Zimbabwe scenes, gradually fades to grey, is brilliantly done.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by John Freeman on Aug 10 2013

With fury and tenderness, she has made a linguistic bridge between here and there, a journey her heroine charts in this phenomenal tale with the gallows humor of a girl who knows how far down it is when things fall apart.

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Toronto Star

Excellent
Reviewed by John Freeman on Jul 26 2013

With fury and tenderness, she has made a linguistic bridge between here and there, a journey her heroine charts in this phenomenal tale with the gallows of humor of a girl who knows how far down it is when things fall apart.

Read Full Review of We Need New Names: A Novel (N... | See more reviews from Toronto Star

Reader Rating for We Need New Names
75%

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Felicia Marie Dougherty

Felicia Marie Dougherty 19 Nov 2014

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Malinda Charter 22 Jul 2014

Added the book to custom list '2013 NPR'