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Extended Audio Sample Baking Cakes in Kigali, by Gaile Parkin Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,159 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Gaile Parkin Narrator: Adenrele Ojo Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Once in a great while a debut novelist comes along who dazzles us with rare eloquence and humanity, who takes us to bold new places and into previously unimaginable lives. Gaile Parkin is just such a talent, and Baking Cakes in Kilgali is just such a novel. This gloriously written tale, set in modern-day Rwanda, introduces one of the most singular and engaging characters in recent fiction: Angel Tungaraza, mother, cake baker, keeper of secrets, a woman living on the edge of chaos, finding ways to transform lives, weave magic, and create hope amid the madness swirling all around her.

In Kigali, Angel runs a bustling business baking cakes for all occasions, cakes filled with vibrant color, buttery richness, and, most of all, a sense of hope only Angel can deliver.

A CIA agent’s wife seeks the perfect holiday cake but walks away with something far sweeter; a former boy-soldier orders an engagement cake and then, between sips of tea, shares an enthralling story; weary human rights workers; lovesick limo drivers. Amid this cacophony of native tongues, love affairs, and confessions, Angel’s kitchen is an oasis where people tell their secrets, where hope abounds and help awaits.

In this unlikely place, in the heart of Rwanda, unexpected things are beginning to happen. A most unusual wedding is planned, a heartbreaking mystery involving Angel’s own family unravels, and extraordinary connections are being made among the men and women who have tasted Angel’s beautiful cakes as a chain of events unfolds that will change Angel’s life and the lives of those around her in the most astonishing ways.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “All the sun and magic of Africa are baked into Gaile Parkin’s debut novel set in Rwanda…We peek into a warm and practical community as colorful as Angel’s dazzling confections.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “Everyone needs a neighbor like Angel Tungaraza…whose warmth and cool-headed cleverness might remind some readers of Precious Ramotswe…There’s a moving sense of urgency.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Unexpectedly sweet.”


  • “Tragedy and humor find a balance in this thoroughly enjoyable novel.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Parkin delivers a buoyant, astute, and sensitively pragmatic portrait of contemporary African challenges.”


  • “Angel offers hope to all.”

    New York Post

  • “Reveals a hope and a joy not often associated with Rwanda…A complete view of life in this African nation.”


  • “With gentle humour and a gift for detail, [Parkin] brings Rwanda to life, with its physical beauty, food, and customs…Fluent and deeply moving, especially in its portrayal of women survivors.”

    Independent (London)

  • “A vibrant snapshot of the city and its people…Containing just the right ingredients, Baking Cakes in Kigali will leave you feeling ell satisfied.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • Selected for the September 2009 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Chris | 2/8/2014

    " A very weak version of "The #1 Ladies Detective Agency." Although the history of genocide in the area was interesting, I just couldn't warm up to the main character. I've tutored women from that area of Africa and that lured me futher in to the book than I probably would have gone. Ultimately, just couldn't finish it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Donna | 2/3/2014

    " An emotional story about coming to terms with loss and life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Kris | 1/22/2014

    " Definitely one of my all time favorite books! I only wish that I had read a printed copy rather than an ebook. This one just begs to be read on actual paper. Gorgeously written, weaving tales of heartache with laughter and love. Amazing!!!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Linda | 1/4/2014

    " This book is not one I would have picked up, but since it was recommended by a friend, I decided to read it. I'm so glad I did! It is a book that makes a person feel hopeful about humanity. "

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About the Author

Gaile Parkin was born and raised in Zambia and studied at universities in South Africa and England. She has lived in many different parts of Africa, including Rwanda. She spent two years in Rwanda as a volunteer at the new university doing a wide range of work: teaching, mentoring, writing learning materials, working with the campus clinic to counsel students with HIV/AIDS, doing gender advocacy and empowerment work, and counseling female survivors. She is currently a freelance consultant in the fields of education, gender, and HIV/AIDS.