We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

Publication Date: May 2013
Categories: Coming of Age, Africa
Source: Netgalley

Darling is only 10 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.

My Thoughts:

What an amazing debut. I’ve listed this as my favorite fiction for March and I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be one of my favorites for all of 2013.

About the author

Darling and her friends are both innocent and jaded, as only children in a war-torn country can be. They are cheerful while stealing guavas to fill their empty bellies, even while knowing that those same fruits will only make them sick. The very young Chipo is pregnant. In their childishness, her friends believe that they can  get the baby out so that she can run and play with them once more.

Darling is able to immigrate to America, to “Destroyedmichygan”. Her guilt at leaving her friends and family behind is palpable. Unfortunately, life in America isn’t exactly what she had hoped for.

We Need New Names is rich, honest, and stirring. Bulawayo is an author to watch.

24 thoughts on “We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

  1. You've done it again with another book with such an interesting setting and plot. I'll go back to my TBR list. You need to stop. My TBR list is never going to be manageable. 🙂


  2. It's so exciting to find an amazing author just making their debut and think about what they could write in a whole career! Thanks for sharing your love of this book. 🙂


  3. That thought of the baby, so innocent, and considering the age, really understandable. I think I'll have to look for this one myself.


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