Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Civilized World

Author: Susi Wyss
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Holt Paperbacks;
First Edition, Second Printing edition (March 29, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0805093621

Book Description:

A glorious literary debut set in Africa about five unforgettable women—two of them haunted by a shared tragedy—whose lives intersect in unexpected and sometimes explosive ways...

When Adjoa leaves Ghana to find work in the Ivory Coast, she hopes that one day she'll return home to open a beauty parlor. Her dream comes true, though not before she suffers a devastating loss—one that will haunt her for years, and one that also deeply affects Janice, an American aid worker who no longer feels she has a place to call home. But the bustling Precious Brother Salon is not just the "cleanest, friendliest, and most welcoming in the city." It's also where locals catch up on their gossip; where Comfort, an imperious busybody, can complain about her American daughter-in-law, Linda; and where Adjoa can get a fresh start on life—or so she thinks, until Janice moves to Ghana and unexpectedly stumbles upon the salon.

At once deeply moving and utterly charming, The Civilized World follows five women as they face meddling mothers-in-law, unfaithful partners, and the lingering aftereffects of racism, only to learn that their cultural differences are outweighed by their common bond as women. With vibrant prose, Susi Wyss explores what it means to need forgiveness—and what it means to forgive.

My thoughts:

Ms. Wyss weaves together the stories of five women in this very warm and relatable novel.  Janice; Adjoa; Ophelia; Comfort; and Linda, Comfort's American daughter-in-law all have stories to share. The Civilized World is a complex telling of the common bonds between women. Well-develped and absorbing, this was a good read.

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