This winter we have some fabulous British exports to look forward to reading – via Pakistan and Nigeria. These 3 debut novelist titles may vary in subject matter, but they are all fresh, fun, and interesting in their portrayal of protagonists from different cultures.
Nikki May (Customs Office)
“Wahala” follows a trio of Anglo-Nigerian BFFs who all lead busy lives of their own. Sure, it’s all a bit of a mess – Ronke has a boyfriend who may or may not ever commit, Boo has a husband and a beautiful child but feels lost in motherhood, and Simi has a glamorous lifestyle and a husband who who believes that she wants children (she doesn’t want any). But when an old friend named Isobel starts hanging out with the group, four is a lot – and at times it seems Isobel’s intentions are anything but innocent.
Aliyah Ali Afzal (Grand Central Publishing)
Faiza fits in with the well-groomed mothers at her children’s private school – not an easy feat considering she was bullied growing up as a Pakistani. But all this fitting comes at a cost; More precisely, all the money from her family’s “emergency fund” with which she paid for raffles here, ski courses there and the ticket. When her husband Tom gets fired from his finance job, he believes her emergency fund can save her until he finds a new job. To keep him from learning the truth, Faiza resorts to desperate measures.
Lizzie Damilola Blackburn (Pamela Dorman Books)
Yinka is a British-Nigerian woman in her 30s with a stable job, an Oxford education and lots of good friends. In any case, she has everything. But whenever she attends family events, the sad refrain is always the same: “Where’s yours husband?” It’s not that she’s not looking — but things didn’t work out. When her cousin gets engaged, Yinka decides it’s time to get serious with a spreadsheet and the will to succeed.