Building Bridges

Song for Night, by Chris Abani

A 15-year-old boy named My Luck, a human mine detector in an unnamed West African war, wakes up to find he’s been separated from his platoon. He can’t speak—like his comrades, his vocal cords have been cut so that if a mine explodes, they won’t be heard screaming—but his journey through the physical and emotional wreckage of war, which include his own deadly actions, is eloquent and heartbreaking. “[E]ven with the knowledge that there are some sins too big for even God to forgive,” he thinks, “every night my sky is still full of stars; a wonderful song for night.” (Akashic Books, 2007)

The Inheritance of Loss, by Kiran Desai

The action moves between northeast India—where a retired judge, his orphaned granddaughter, and their England-loving neighbors live near the borders of Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan—and New York, where a cook’s son lives the terrifying life of an immigrant. All of Desai’s characters struggle in deep and painful, yet often funny, ways with the forces of colonialism, globalization, and modernity. (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006)

Beijing Coma, by Ma Jian

Dai Wei had been a molecular biology student at Beijing University when he was shot in the head during the Tiananmen Square massacre. Now he is in a coma, and though his body is lifeless, his mind ranges freely over the events of June 1989, the complex figures of the student movement, and the fading prospects for democratic reform in an increasingly oppressive China. (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2008)

Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Everything Good Will Come, by Sefi Atta

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Sojourners Magazine November 2008
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