September 2009 Indie Next List
“Cake maker Angel Tungaraza lives in a multicultural community in Rwanda, where she finds healing after the losses of her two grown children as she helps others solve their own problems with equal doses of common sense and kindness. Tragedy and humor find balance in this thoroughly enjoyable novel.”
— Sandy Scott, The Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT
November 2010 Indie Next List
“Meet Angel Tungaraza, whose specialty is baking the perfect cake for any special occasion. Through Angel we meet various characters in her Rwandan community and learn of their challenges, culture, and history. Angel is part counselor, part matchmaker, mentor, and enforcer. Through her, Parkin portrays the strength of so many women whose lives have been marked by war, genocide, AIDS, genital mutilation, and more. These serious subjects are interwoven with hilarity, compassion, and humor. The book is a multi-layered cake, with surprise fillings between each sweet layer.”
— Gayle Wingerter, Inklings Bookshop, Yakima, WA
Look for the discussion guide inside.
This soaring novel introduces us to Angel Tungaraza: mother, cake baker, pillar of her community, keeper of secrets big and small. Angel's kitchen is an oasis in the heart of Rwanda, where visitors stop to order cakes but end up sharing their stories, transforming their lives, leaving with new hope. In this vibrant, powerful setting, unexpected things are beginning to happen: A most unusual wedding is planned, a heartbreaking mystery involving Angel's own family unravels, and extraordinary connections are made--as a chain of events unfolds that will change Angel's life and the lives of those around her in the most astonishing ways.
About the Author
Gaile Parkin was born and raised in Zambia and studied at universities in South Africa and England. She has lived in many different parts of Africa, including Rwanda, where Baking Cakes in Kigali is set. She spent two years in Rwanda as a VSO volunteer at the new university doing a wide range of work: teaching, mentoring, writing learning materials, working with the campus clinic to counsel students with HIV/AIDS, and doing gender advocacy and empowerment work. Evenings and weekends, she counselled women and girls who were survivors. Many of the stories told by the characters in Baking Cakes for Kigali are based on or inspired by stories Parkin was told herself. She is currently a freelance consultant in the fields of education, gender, and HIV/AIDS. From the Hardcover edition.
“A charming and beautifully written novel of life in a country recovering from terrible horrors. Beguiling…Gaile Parkin’s creation Angel Tungaraza is sure to win over readers.” —Bookseller