Friday, March 28, 2014

The Civilized World by Susi Wyss


Adjoa had been going to Madame Janice's every week for the last three months, but she still couldn't put her finger on why her stomach clenched and her shoulders stiffened every time her twin brother, Kojo, drove her to the white woman's well-kept house. Madame Janice was a perfectly pleasant American lady who seemed to appreciate Adjoa's massages. Other than the African masks and statues displayed prominently in the living room, other than the rather rude night watchman, there was really nothing about Madame Janice or her home that could account for Adjoa's anxiety.

Title: The Civilized World
Author: Susi Wyss
ISBN: 9780805093629
Publisher: Holt Paperbacks/2011

Pages: 256 pages

The Civilized World is a novel set in Africa and told in stories. The beginning chapters speak about five women and how their life intersect in the last few chapters. Each story depicts the everyday Africa without any political statement or sensationalization. It is not about women who are driven by poverty or anything like that. These women are like us, with issues about children, in laws, finances and husbands. The end result can't be predicted as is true in real life. These women go through the path of life with all the complexities of life which includes social interactions.

Adjoa is in the midst of it and when she meets one of the women after many years, she can only ask for forgiveness and redemption. Is Janice ready to forgive and move forward? Will Adjoa get over her loss? 

Wyss' narration of Africa is so palpable that one can almost smell, taste and see the landscape and people clearly.  The author lived for a long time. That gives the narration a reality and makes it very readable.

6 comments:

Harvee Lau said...

I have this on my TBR shelves. Good beginning!

Vonnie R said...

A civilized world set in Africa? You don't read many books like that. I am adding it to my list :)

JC Jones said...

That is a beginning that really catches my attention. Thanks for visiting.

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Gautami,

This has gone straight to my TBR list as a 'must read'.

I have read a few African culture books now and each has captivated and held me in thrall, so this is obviously a genre I am enjoying, albeit a relatively new one to me.

I particularly like that you thought the narrative to be descriptive and with a good sense of reality.

Thanks for sharing and I hope that you have a good weekend,

Yvonne

Jazz R.J. said...

Thanks for stopping by. This book sounds like something I would enjoy. I've never read a book set in Africa before that would be a fun new experience. I'm going to write the book title down.

Samantha Clark said...

This is a good beginning, makes me want to keep reading.