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Coofle

Books by Non-English native authors

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Coofle   

Recently I have noticed the trend that authors who are not native english speakers have a unique and flamboyant style of writing. They easily manage to squeeze pleasure out of us even when we are not in the mood of reading, they take their time in describing and dissecting the meaning out of every word and sentence.

 

So far I had the pleasure to be acquainted with Chinua achebe, Nuraddin farah and Joseph Conrad, but of late I have started reading the works of Khaled Hosseini (A thousand splendid suns & The kite runner) Amazingly all the of them have a special way to readers mind, I feel pulseless when I indulge into the yellow pages of their novels, turning and twirling the pages excitedly like a bride surveying her wedding dress in the magazine.

 

Is it they are good writers or is it my innate inclination to their Non-native background?

Have you felt the same?

I think for some, its the novel cultural breeze they bring up , I feel relieved from the western culture for a moment....

 

I am not good with English After all, Only If I read 10% of books I read in Af-carbeed in English my idea would have been different I guess...

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Garnaqsi   
It's because they're good writers. It can be said that they have to be twice as talented as the native writers to even make it. By the way, try Vladimir Nabokov. His English puts everyone to shame, really (even the classical English ones). It's incredibly beautiful.

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Garnaqsi   

By the way, I think here's an example of the descriptions you're talking about (from the opening of Nuruddin Farah's Maps):

 

You sit, in contemplative posture, your features agonized and your expressions pained; you sit for hours and hours and hours, sleepless, looking into darkness, hearing a small snore coming from the room next to yours. And you conjure a past: a past in which you see a horse drop its rider; a past in which you discern a bird breaking out of its shell so it will fly into the heavens of freedom. Out of the same past emerges a man wrapped in a mantle with unpatched holes, each hole large as a window - and each window large as the secret to which you cling as though it were the only soul you possessed. And you question, you challenge every thought which crosses your mind.

"... a past in which you discern a bird breaking out of its shell so it will fly into the heavens of freedom." That blew me away! :D

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Mustafe   

Garnaqsi,

 

Nurudin is very talented, but I think he over does it. His books can be hard just to get into sometimes. All the other authors coofle mentioned are flawless though, Nabokove included ofcourse.

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Garnaqsi   

Mustafe;902088 wrote:
Garnaqsi,

 

Nurudin is very talented, but I think he over does it. His books can be hard just to get into sometimes. All the other authors coofle mentioned are flawless though, Nabokove included ofcourse.

His narrative descriptions are very Victorian in nature. Of course the taste has changed these days and people prefer plain writing to that one, but if you think he overdoes it, then you must also think all those great classical novelists overdid it as well. Personally I would rather read just the following passage from George Eliot's Middlemarch than an entire novel written in newspaper style.

 

An eminent philosopher among my friends, who can dignify even your ugly furniture by lifting it into the serene light of science, has shown me this pregnant little fact. Your pier-glass or extensive surface of polished steel made to be rubbed by a housemaid, will be minutely and multitudinously scratched in all directions; but place now against it a lighted candle as a centre of illumination, and lo! the scratches will seem to arrange themselves in a fine series of concentric circles round that little sun. It is demonstrable that the scratches are going everywhere impartially and it is only your candle which produces the flattering illusion of a concentric arrangement, its light falling with an exclusive optical selection. These things are a parable. The scratches are events, and the candle is the egoism of any person now absent-- of Miss Vincy, for example. Rosamond had a Providence of her own who had kindly made her more charming than other girls, and who seemed to have arranged Fred's illness and Mr. Wrench's mistake in order to bring her and Lydgate within effective proximity. It would have been to contravene these arrangements if Rosamond had consented to go away to Stone Court or elsewhere, as her parents wished her to do, especially since Mr. Lydgate thought the precaution needless. Therefore, while Miss Morgan and the children were sent away to a farmhouse the morning after Fred's illness had declared itself, Rosamond refused to leave papa and mamma.

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Apophis   

Great quotes Garnaqsi. Most of the authors mentioned by the OP & you are unfamiliar to me; probably the result of years of reading nothing but textbooks.

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Mustafe   

Garnaqsi,

 

Plain writing is always better, and just because one writes in Victorian does not mean they can not be understood by presentday readers. Bertrand Russel, just like George Eliot above also writes in Victorian and for some reason I find their works much easier and quicker to get into than Mr Farah. But thats just me I guess, or its just that I havan't read him extensively.

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what an excellent thread!

 

how thoughtful of you Coofle, my good friend. i will add some excellent personal recommendations to this list. i've read almost 200+ books written by non-white authors written in English.

 

i worry, laakin, that black literature has for far too long been championed by white apologists, whose chronic paternalism has not only completely alienated readers but neutered and emasculated black authors. they've created a patronising ‘multicultist’ foggy tokenism. certainly, this is the cultural milieu that white middle class publishing professionals work within, portraying the ‘black experience’ as a single entity, when the black experience is multi-faceted and diverse as the white experience. conscious cultural critics like myself value grass-roots, organically inspired cultural products, products that are grounded in real life experiences and not some pre-judged culturally distant stereotype informed by the overarching white cultural superstructure. this ‘white cultural superstructure’ not only hijacks black literature for their own ends but more significantly constructs a condescending, cultural straight jacket. this dominant milieu or white superstructure is the dominant ideology that inhibits black literature from the mainstream. whats more, i'm concerned by the market and demand dictating the genres in which black authors and writers work from within. these areas are often the stereotypical and extrospective self-consciousness views held by whites about black people.

 

what I’m proposing, here, in my capacity as a conscious cultural critic, is a 'back to basics' approach, bringing alternative and seldom documented experiences into the cultural mainstream; with the intention of shining a light with the aim of uncovering, and authentically documenting, hard to reach cultures and sub-cultures that exist in the world and in particular the globe south. these voices should be organically sourced from their own communities, given the tools and the encouragement to write books based on their experiences and values rather than having a white ethno-centric culturally biased worldview forced upon them. the most important point is to realise that this ethno-centric culturally abusive milieu is the number one impediment to black authors and readers alike. rather than portraying a single black experience as the norm, the focus should be on portraying multiple non-stereotypical black experiences, that transcend cultures, as the norm. this innovative and informative works will become de-rigueur.

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Apophis   

But you sound exactly like those you're complaining about; you sound like a middle class "cultural milieu" type who hails from Surrey and really loves everything "ethnic" LOOL :D

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Blessed   

I agree, have enjoyed reading books by all the authors you’ve mentioned. I also like African American authors, including; Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou who have a beautiful poetic flair about them.

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chinua achebe's book ''a man of the people'' was my literature set book, back at high school among others like ''encounters from africa'' a collective of short stories from african authors, like ken saro wiwa, the designer of the famous quote '' join them if you can't defeat them'' in his article ''africa kills her sun''.

Non-english authors have what it takes to tell the fairy tales in their old setting,

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chubacka   

I continue a reading a book if it's written beautifully or if I feel there is some "truth" to it (whether it's Bridget Jones or some Nobel prize for literature winning novel) so I'd say any writer to hold the reader's attention has to be talented or experienced first wherever they may be from. The advantage the Non-English writers have is a door into a different culture and like you said many have used this experience and knowledge of their own culture to write memorable books. Two books to add to your reading if you get a chance

 

Chimamanda Ngozi, Half of a yellow sun. Set amidst the 1960s civil war in Nigeria and the struggle to create an independent state.

 

Naguib Mahfouz, Palace of Desire (the first in a trilogy) This massive read is set in 1920s Egypt and is all about the comings and goings of a well to do, very conservative family, a book that you will find so much to delight in.

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Garnaqsi   

Apophis;902093 wrote:
Great quotes Garnaqsi. Most of the authors mentioned by the OP & you are unfamiliar to me;
probably the result of years of reading nothing but textbooks.

Sounds familiar. I remember going to uni thinking I'm going to double my reading but I didn't read a single novel in the first year. :D

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