There’s no doubt Bulawayo knows how to craft a sentence. The writing is lovely and Bulawayo’s observations are heartbreakingly vivid, but the free-ranging style left me a bit cold. The novel describes difficult experiences, but there is an honesty and humour about it which carries it along. An exodus into other nations where these immigrants desperately seek a life, an identity, a belonging, but are met by some cold facts. The episodic structure is so similar to the Zimbabwe half for starters. May 31, Cheryl rated it really liked it Shelves: The neglectful adults are too busy searching for work in the mines and the borders to spare time for the children.

we need new names by noviolet bulawayo

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Another obvious new release to compare would be Americanahwhich I haven’t read. Make sense of a disrupted world.

we need new names by noviolet bulawayo

The novel begins by following a group of mostly pre-teen children – the central character Darling and her friends Stina, Chipo, Bastard and Godknows – living in tin shacks in Zimbabwe after their homes have been bulldozed by Mugabe ‘s paramilitary police.

One of noiolet ten-year-olds is pregnant, and if that’s not discomfiting enough for ya, wait until you find out who the father is. The second half of the novel sees Darling relocated to America, living first in Detroit and then moving to Kalamazoo, Michigan.

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

Bulawayo is clearly a gifted writer. A very readable book which gave me quite a bit to think about – glad I gave it a go after all. They all dream of a different life, some at home, and some in other places like the US.


In this novel Darling is a 10 or 11 year old girl living in Paradise, a bitterly named shantytown, in Zimbabwe, round about andwhen the whole country was falling apart. Hell, what look likes a 4 or 5 star book has changed for me over last few years, and will no doubt continue to do so.

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo – review

Bulawsyo sense of a disrupted world Explore the new agenda. No you don’t my friend, it’s the wound that knows the texture of the pain; it’s us who stayed here feeling the real suffering, it’s us who stayed here who have the right to say anything.

The kids are uncomfortable — who is this person? Hard to say what drew me to this book — the author’s name is just awesome.

As well as a critique of the author as self-appointed spokesperson this could allude to the way that a lot of internationally recognised African writing comes from authors who no longer live on the continent. They live in Paradise; in the first chapter Hitting Budapest which won the Caine African Short Story contest a couple of years agoDarling and her friends are going to the rich area village? Once I let go of the expectation of plot and viewed this more as prose-ode to a lost childhood and the immigrant experience, I appreciated the solemn beauty bulawwyo Bulawayo’s craft.

We Need New Names

Mar 28, Tania rated it liked it Shelves: Sep 23, Elyse Walters rated it liked it. Not sure that Bulswayo would classify this as a novel as the plot wasn’t linear but seemed more like a group of short stories meshed together. Apologies if this seems a little blunt! Look for other food. She is a member of the generation being born after the colonialist bulaawyo to steal their country, after the fall of colonialism, and now the brutal regime of Robert Mugabe.


Darling is left in gy care of her grandmother, Mother of Bones. We are talking child soldiers, genocide, child prostitution, female genital mutilation, political violence, police brutality, dictatorships, predatory preachers, dead bodies on the roadside.

As a result the message that she had set out to deliver, gave off the impression of poor phrasing and ended up sounding half-hearted and rather dubious.

we need new names by noviolet bulawayo

Darling is she lives in a shantytown in Zimbabwe. View all 49 comments. I want to go bigger, though: Opinion Show more Opinion.

we need new names by noviolet bulawayo

Think carefully before answering that question, because one answer heed a chink in the armor protecting a very very very touchy equality argument This has been included in the shortlist despite my misgivings to the contrary.

I certainly didn’t hate the book, and I don’t think the author should be put ee the stocks thence to learn the error of her ways. Her experience of a United Nations of people around her in the USA is shared with wonder and nostalgia. Did I mention that one of the children, or year-old Chipo, is pregnant after being raped by her grandfather?

An exodus into other nations where these immigrants desperately seek a life, an identity, a belonging, but are met by some cold facts.