Winner of the 2014 PEN / Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction
Winner of the 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction
Shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize
Winner of the 2013 Etisalat Prize for Literature
Finalist for the 2013 Guardian First Book Award
One of the New York Times Notable Books of the Year for 2013
One of National Public Radio's Great Reads of 2013
NoViolet Bulawayo has created a world that lives and breathes - and fights, kicks, screams, and scratches, too. She has clothed it in words and given it a voice at once dissonant and melodic, utterly distinct.
Aminatta Forna, author of The Memory of Love and Ancestor Stones
An exquisite and powerful first novel, filled with an equal measure of beauty and horror and laughter and pain. The lives (and names) of these characters will linger in your mind, and heart, long after you're done reading the book. NoViolet Bulawayo is definitely a writer to watch.
Edwidge Danticat, award-winning author of Brother, I'm Dying and Breath, Eyes, Memory
Fans of Junot Díaz, who, as fiction editor of Boston Review, published NoViolet Bulawayo's early work, will love her debut novel, We Need New Names ...Bulawayo's use of contemporary culture (the kids play a game in which they hunt for bin Laden and, later, text like their lives depend on it), as well as her fearless defense of the immigrant experience through honoring the cadence of spoken language, sets this book apart-on the top shelf.
Kristy Davis, Oprah.com
Bulawayo, whose prose is warm and clear and unfussy, maintains Darling's singular voice throughout, even as her heroine struggles to find her footing. Her hard, funny first novel is a triumph.
Nearly as incisive about the American immigrant experience as it is about the failings of Mugabe's regime [in Zimbabwe].
National Public Radio
Bulawayo's first novel is original, witty and devastating.
Ms. Bulawayo's artistry is such that we can't help but see ourselves in that wider world ... Darling is a dazzling life force with a rich, inventive language all her own, funny and perceptive but still very much a child ... It would be hard to overstate the freshness of Ms. Bulawayo's language, with words put together in utterly surprising ways that communicate precisely.
Judy Wertheimer, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Writing with poignant clarity and hard-hitting imagery, Bulawayo delivers this first work as an offering of hope.
The New York Daily News
How does a writer tell the story of a traumatised nation without being unremittingly bleak? NoViolet Bulawayo manages it by forming a cast of characters so delightful and joyous that the reader is seduced by their antics at the same time as finding out about the country's troubles.
Leyla Sanai, The Independent
Bulawayo has written a powerful novel. Her gift as a visual storyteller should propel her to a bright future -- a dream fulfilled, no matter the country
Korina Lopez, USA Today
NoViolet Bulawayo is a powerful, authentic, nihilistic voice - feral, feisty, funny - from the new Zimbabwean generation that has inherited Robert Mugabe's dystopia.
Peter Godwin, betselling author of The Fear and When a Crocodile Eats the Sun
mixes imagination and reality, combining an intuitive attention to detail with startling,
visceral imagery...This book is a provocative, haunting debut from an author to
A deeply felt and fiercely written debut novel ... The voice Ms. Bulawayo has fashioned for [Darling] is utterly distinctive - by turns unsparing and lyrical, unsentimental and poetic, spiky and meditative.
Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
Bulawayo describes all this in brilliant language, alive and confident, often funny, strong in its ability to make Darling's African life immediate ... She demonstrates a striking ability to capture the uneasiness that accompanies a newcomers arrival in America.
Uzodinma Iweala, The New York Times Book Review
Bulawayo mixes imagination and reality, combining an intuitive attention to detail with startling, visceral imagery ... This book is a provocative, haunting debut from an author to watch.
[Bulawayo] shows the beaming promise of a young Junot Diaz. With a style all her own-one steeped in wit and striking imagination-she movingly details the complexities of the immigrant experience.
The American Prospect
first novel is original, witty, and devastating.”
use of contemporary culture (the kids play a game in which they hunt for bin
Laden and, later, text like their lives depend on it), as well as her fearless
defense of the immigrant experience through honoring the cadence of spoken
language, sets this book apart—on the top shelf.
has written a powerful novel. Her gift as a visual storyteller should propel
her to a bright future—a dream fulfilled, no matter the country.”
whose prose is warm and clear and unfussy, maintains Darling’s singular voice
throughout, even as her heroine struggles to find her footing. Her hard, funny
first novel is a triumph.”
“A novel as unique as its author name, NoViolet
Bulawayo’s We Need New Names enables
us to see Zimbabwe and our own country through the inquisitive eyes of a
ten-year-old girl. The Africa that she inhabits seems as unfamiliar to us as
her buddies named Bastard and Godknows, but the America to which she immigrates
has a strangeness that immigrants know better than the rest of us. This tale of
assimilation and identity has a rawness that somehow retains its charm. Quite
Barnes&Noble.com, editorial review
felt and fiercely written…the voice Ms. Bulawayo has fashioned for her
[narrator, Darling] is utterly distinctive—by turns unsparing and lyrical,
unsentimental and poetic, spiky and meditative…Using her gift for pictorial
language, Ms. Bulawayo gives us snapshots of Zimbabwe that have the indelible
color and intensity of a folk art painting…Ms. Bulawayo gives us a sense of Darling’s
new life [in the United States] in staccato takes that show us both her
immersion in and her alienation from American culture. We come to understand
how stranded she often feels, uprooted from all the traditions and beliefs she
grew up with, and at the same time detached from the hectic life of easy
gratification in America.”
New York Times
describes all this in brilliant language, alive and confident, often funny,
strong in its ability to make Darling’s African life immediate without
resorting to the kind of preaching meant to remind Western readers that African
stories are universal…Bulawayo is clearly a gifted writer. She demonstrates a
striking ability to capture the uneasiness that accompanies a newcomer’s
arrival in America, to illuminate how the reinvention of the self in a new
place confronts the protective memory of the way things were back home.”
New York Times Book Review
incisive about the American immigrant experience as it is about the failings of
Mugabe’s regime [in Zimbabwe].”
“Bulawayo’s use of English is disarmingly
fresh, her arrangement of words startling.”
“As Bulawayo effortlessly captures the innate
loneliness of those who trade the comfort of their own land for the
opportunities of another, Darling emerges as the freshest voice yet to spring
from the fertile imaginations of talented young writers like Chimamanda Ngozi
Adichie and Dinaw Mengestu, who explore the African diaspora in America.”
“Bulawayo crafts a moving and open-eyed
rich, beautiful voice, Robin Miles adopts an authentic accent and a childish
tone to recount the exploits of Darling and her oddly named friends. Events
range from the tragicomic stealing of guavas from the rich houses, which they
eat until they're constipated, to the downright tragic game of reenacting the
beating death of an antigovernment activist. When Darling moves to ‘Destroyedmichygen,’
Miles subtly changes the accent to reflect Darling’s new way of speaking as she
becomes an American teenager. Darling is an illegal immigrant who cannot visit
home, and her growing feeling that she doesn’t really belong anywhere is
tangible. Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award.”