May 17, 2011

Book Review: The Civilized World by Susi Wyss

The Civilized World: A Novel in Stories by Susi Wyss, March 29, 2011.

"Does being born on a Monday have any special meaning in your culture?" Janice asked.

"It's just our tradition to name children after the day of the week on which they're born, though many people think a person's qualities can be predicted by their name. Monday-borns are said to be quiet."

(from the story, "Monday Born")

Publisher's description: This stunning literary debut is a novel in stories set in Africa and the United States that follows two Ghanaian and three American women as their lives intersect in unexpected and explosive ways. "

My comments: The stories follow Adjoa who leaves Ghana to open the Precious Brother Salon in the Ivory Coast, about Comfort and her American daughter-in-law Linda, about the American Ophelia, and also about another American, Janice, who moves to Ghana. The stories reflect the author's background working in Africa for almost 20 years. She brings her knowledge of the culture and the women to nine short stories that make up this novel. Highly recommended for those interested in women's fiction and in African cultures.

Paperback: 256 pages. Publisher: Holt Paperbacks (March 29, 2011)
Source: Review copy provided by publisher
Genre: fiction, literary fiction
Objective rating: 4 out of 5


  1. That's a custom that's been around for hundreds of years, as many slave children born to the Gullah in SC and GA were named after the day they were born, or the month they were born in. This books looks like a good read! Thanks for visiting my teaser today!

  2. This made me remember the old nursery rhyme about days of the week - Monday's child is fair of face, etc. I think I was born on a Wednesday, and those children are "full of woe" (oh, dear!). Great teaser - sounds like a fine read.

    Here's my teaser for this week.

  3. I read a book recently that, like Joy mentioned, featured the days of the week.

    I think this sounds intriguing.

    Here's MY TT POST

  4. I've seen this book reviewed on a couple of blogs--sounds good.

  5. This is so fascinating! I'd love to learn more about Ghana's culture. Thanks for the teaser (and thanks for commenting on mine, too!)

  6. I really do enjoy women's fiction so this one sounds great to me. I hope to get to it next week!!

  7. I love novels in stories. This sounds very intriguing. Thanks for sharing it!


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