This month we will be discussing ‘Aya de Yopougon’ by Marguerite Abouet
For the residents of Yopougon, everyday life is good. It is the early 1970s, a golden time – work is plentiful, hospitals are clean and well equipped, and school is obligatory. The Ivory Coast is as an island of relative wealth and stability in West Africa. For the teenagers of the town, though, worries are plentiful, and life in Yop City is far from simple.
Aya tells the story of its nineteen-year-old heroine, the clear-sighted and bookish Aya, and her carefree and fun-loving friends Adjoua and Bintou. Navigating meddling relatives and neighbours, the girls spend a last summer of their childhood on the sun-warmed streets of Yop City – sneaking out for dancing at open-air bars, strong solibra beer, chicken in peanut sauce and avoiding at all costs the scandal pages of the Calamity Morning….
Aya is a captivating, colourful and hugely entertaining portrayal of an Africa we rarely see, spirited and resilient, and full of the sounds, sights and smells of a prosperous town and its varied inhabitants.
London edition of the African Reading Group (ARG!) meets on the first Sunday of each month
The group is there to help readers keep up with the explosion of literature coming out of Africa and its diaspora. We are a ‘new voice’ reading group, focussing on short story collections, novels and some critical or non-fiction. From time to time we may go back to a classic of African literature — but the emphasis is on the new.
The books will be available at meetings to buy from Book and Kitchen