Best African books of the century

I just learned the 100 best African books of the century were compiled at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair in 2002.

I have not perused the list closely (yet), but I have two small quarrels so far. My first is a small one of surprise: Claude Ake is not represented in non-fiction.

My second is one of dismay: their selection for Nobel prize-winner J.M. Coetzee is The Life and Times of Michael K? His masterpieces, as far as I am concerned, are Disgrace and Waiting for the Barbarians.

Both are easily some of the best (and most haunting) novels I’ve read in my lifetime. And any student of development (or critic of empire) should be sure to read the last.

4 thoughts on “Best African books of the century

  1. Chris – what do you think of Gerard Prunier’s book on the Congo war? I’m reading it right now and getting a lot out of it, but as a non-Africanist, I’m wondering if I should know something about his intellectual (or political?) agenda.



  2. “Life and times” is a great great book. Disgrace is beautiful writing, but story a bit muddled and forced, even obvious. But maybe I’m biased (can you guess why?)

  3. Disgrace was better, but Life and Times did win the Booker Prize as well.