Tag Archives: African Literature

My Totem Came Calling by Blessing Musariri and Thorsten Nesch Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A teenage girl who begins to suffer from memory lapses and glimpses of a zebra that seemingly doesn’t exist journeys away from the city life she knows and seeks answers from her ancestral home and the grandmother who is more mysterious than she could have ever known in authors Blessing Musariri and Thorsten Nesch’s “My Totem Came Calling”.

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The Synopsis

Chanda is a seventeen-year-old schoolgirl in Harare, Zimbabwe, who suddenly starts suffering from memory lapses, which become even more worrisome when she starts seeing a zebra in all sorts of places. The trouble is, nobody else can see it. Afraid of being institutionalized in a hospital, she follows the advice of an old aunt and sets off for her ancestral village, a primitive settlement with none of the amenities she is used to in the city. But there she meets the rest of her family, including her strange and mysterious grandmother, and learns the hard way who she really is—not a superficial, rich city girl with foreign habits but someone who is somebody, whose name carries a history of her African people.

The Review

This was such a brilliant and captivating read. The authors did a remarkable job of blending YA drama with a unique perspective of culture and mythology that kept the reader invested. Diving into strong themes of cultural clashes between Western religions and Old World belief systems, as well as the idea of honoring those who came before us and discovering our own voices and identities was strongly felt in this narrative. The powerful imagery and equally strong atmosphere help to drive the classic story of the hero’s journey meets a coming-of-age novel.

The focal point of the narrative has to be in the balance of character growth and culture that the authors infused into the story. The way Chanda begins to grow and evolve throughout the novel as she connects with this other side of her background and history and the way the authors explore both teenage life in Zimbabwe and the impact of the spiritual world on those who practice the old ways made this story feel alive on the page.

The Verdict

Captivating, engaging, and mind-blowing, authors Blessing Musariri and Thorsten Nesch’s “My Totem Came Calling” is a wonderful blend of YA drama that meets African culture and mythology. The evolution of the protagonist and the rich narrative that stems from this unique and vivid setting will keep the reader invested in this vibrant world, and the thrilling conclusion will keep readers hanging off of the author’s every word. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Authors

Blessing Musariri has published four children’s titles, two of which have won national awards. She writes short stories and poems, which have been published in various international anthologies and magazines. Some of her short stories were published in South African English textbooks for high schools, and have been translated for online magazines. She holds a Masters degree in Diplomatic Studies (with distinction) from the University of Westminster. She lives in Harare, Zimbabwe.

https://www.instagram.com/blessingmusariri/

Thorsten Nesch is an award winning German YA author. His first novel was nominated for Best German Debut. He has attended 1,500 readings at schools and in bookstores across Europe, and been on two tours on cruise ships. In 2017 he wrote and directed Derailed, a feature movie based on his novel. He lives in Lethbridge, Alberta, with his wife and children.

http://thorstennesch.com/

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07X6N8YM4/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F44334116-my-totem-came-calling%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3D4aZYkj63XU%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

I Am Marcus Fox by Bryon Cahill Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

One man’s grand story of his life blurs the line between reality and fiction in author Bryon Cahill’s novel “I Am Marcus Fox”. Here is the synopsis.

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The Synopsis

A dangerous man on the brink of madness recounts his life story—a nonstop, action-adventure thrill ride that proves fiction is stranger than truth.

Texas, 1967. Marcus Fox is born to notorious outlaw parents who are always on the run. Unaccustomed to any semblance of a stable family life, the often-neglected child is quick to realize Mom and Dad are driven by sheer violence and mayhem. Hiding out in cheap motels between heists, Marcus’s favorite pastime is listening to his father tell tall tales. He also secretly yearns for any glimmer of love from his monstrous mother. But those banks and roadside diners aren’t going to rob themselves. 

Zambia, Africa, 1973. Six-year-old Marcus Fox is abandoned. Adopted by a local tribesman and his wife, he learns their ways and survives along the Zambezi River. As he grows, Marcus becomes an experienced hunter and fights unimaginable beasts for his supper. But the one animal he can’t best is the ferocious lion within. In the prime of his life, Marcus finds himself strapped with an orphan baby of his own. Acting as both brother and father to the growing boy, Marcus must protect him from the nutty, imperceptible call of nature and shield him from the lucid lure of human contact.

The lines between reality and fantasy blur as Marcus, an unreliable narrator, navigates his most penetrating memories. In retelling his hero’s journey, Marcus reminisces on tragedy and farcical comedy, terror and psychological warfare. At times, he will even question his own sanity. 

Never faltering in his tale, Marcus paints an unbelievable story with larger-than-life bravado. But his overconfidence may just shake him apart and disrupt the infinite, swirling cosmos.

The Review

This has to be one of the most unique and fascinating character driven narratives I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a long time. A truly one of a kind story of a man who’s very existence is called into question as his life’s story becomes more and more surreal and his encounters become more and more “otherworldly” at times, this novel brings a unique study of the nature of one’s self. In the grand scheme of things, when any of us stop to look back on our lives, the biggest question we inevitably ask is, “Who are we?” And in that moment for the protagonist, the narrator responds calmly, “I Am Marcus Fox”. 

The book was evenly paced and provided a great deal of character growth. Heavily leaning on the protagonist’s life rather than a complex plot, the author beautifully captures the line between the reality most of the world sees, and the reality some of us tell ourselves or simply believe to be. It’s a fascinating story that will instantly capture the readers attention, and is a unique take on creating or interpreting a mythology to fit into an author’s vision. 

The Verdict

This is a must read novel for anyone who enjoys character studies, African literature and mythology, and drama fueled with satire and humor. A story of abandonment, violence, and the journey to discover who we are, the story will have readers heart’s pounding as they look to discover for themselves who Marcus Fox really is, and if his story is true or just true for him. If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up your copy of I Am Marcus Fox by author Bryon Cahill today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Bryon Cahill is an author for all ages. A Stay-At-Home Dad by day and night, he writes by proverbial candlelight in the wee strange hours of morning. 

In the past, Bryon was an award-winning writer and editor of literary publications for teens. His stories, influenced by phantasmagorical classics such as Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, do often steer off-course, alighting on the wings of the fantastical.

When not writing or Dadding, Bryon dreams of sleeping sheep. He summers, winters, springs, and falls with his loving family along the sunny beaches of the Jersey Shore.

I Am Marcus Fox is Bryon’s debut novel for adult readers. It will be available for human consumption on May 7, 2019. 

Novels steeped in magical realism for young adult and middle grade readers are forthcoming, as is more fiction for adults.

Website & Blog: www.bryoncahill.com

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/bryoncahill

Twitter: www.twitter.com/shakabry

Facebook: www.facebook.com/BryonCahillAuthor

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/shakabry