The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell

The Old Drift

Namwali Serpell

This book is narrated by a chorus of mosquitos. That should tell you something about the magical realism with which this story of a birth of a country - Zambia - is imbued. The story sweeps like the Zambezi over the Victoria Falls as it tells of the bringing together of three disparate families to create the story of a modern nation. It is a long story, but it is worth the effort.


It happened all at once. The slats of the lorry splintered, then broke. The cow tumbled out of the truck, landing awkwardly in its front legs. Even with the closed windows, it was a horrible sound - nearly human. The girls shrieked as Daddiji swerved sharply off the road. The tyres tumbled off the tarmac onto pebbles and dirt. The Mazda skwerched to a halt, its front bumper nuzzling a bush. As always, emergency bred hierarchy: everyone fell into place.

  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
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