Indie Next ListJune 2013
Bulawayo gives her character Darling an emotionally powerful voice while telling her story in such sparse and brilliantly crafted sentences, I had to put the book down just to savor the writing and take a break from the heartbreaking scenes of the strife in Zimbabwe. Bulawayo takes us on one young immigrant's journey from a country being destroyed by violence to one where the grandness and wealth are overwhelming and the Midwestern cold is piercing. This is a debut novel not to be missed! -- Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT
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 the Author
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.
Praise for We Need New Names…
"A deeply felt and fiercely written debut novel ... The voice Ms. Bulawayo has fashioned for [Darling] is utterly distinctive - by turns unsparing and lyrical, unsentimental and poetic, spiky and meditative." --- Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Bulawayo describes all this in brilliant language, alive and confident, often funny, strong in its ability to make Darling's African life immediate ... She demonstrates a striking ability to capture the uneasiness that accompanies a newcomers arrival in America." -- Uzodinma Iweala, The New York Times Book Review
"Bulawayo mixes imagination and reality, combining an intuitive attention to detail with startling, visceral imagery ... This book is a provocative, haunting debut from an author to watch." - Elle
"Bulawayo, whose prose is warm and clear and unfussy, maintains Darling's singular voice throughout, even as her heroine struggles to find her footing. Her hard, funny first novel is a triumph." -- Entertainment Weekly
"Nearly as incisive about the American immigrant experience as it is about the failings of Mugabe's regime [in Zimbabwe]." -- NPR.org
"Bulawayo's first novel is original, witty and devastating." ---People Magazine
"Ms. Bulawayo's artistry is such that we can't help but see ourselves in that wider world ... Darling is a dazzling life force with a rich, inventive language all her own, funny and perceptive but still very much a child ... It would be hard to overstate the freshness of Ms. Bulawayo's language, with words put together in utterly surprising ways that communicate precisely." ---Judy Wertheimer, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Writing with poignant clarity and hard-hitting imagery, Bulawayo delivers this first work as an offering of hope." --The New York Daily News
"How does a writer tell the story of a traumatised nation without being unremittingly bleak? NoViolet Bulawayo manages it by forming a cast of characters so delightful and joyous that the reader is seduced by their antics at the same time as finding out about the country's troubles." -- Leyla Sanai for The Independent
"Bulawayo has written a powerful novel. Her gift as a visual storyteller should propel her to a bright future -- a dream fulfilled, no matter the country"-- Korina Lopez for USAToday.com
"Fans of Junot Díaz, who, as fiction editor of Boston Review, published NoViolet Bulawayo's early work, will love her debut novel, We Need New Names ...Bulawayo's use of contemporary culture (the kids play a game in which they hunt for bin Laden and, later, text like their lives depend on it), as well as her fearless defense of the immigrant experience through honoring the cadence of spoken language, sets this book apart-on the top shelf." -- Kristy Davis for Oprah.com