non-depressing development fiction: FOUND!

A month ago I posted a query about “upbeat” fiction that takes place in developing countries.  The reason is that my book club is tired of depressing fiction (after Purple Hibiscus and A Thousand Splendid Suns).  Some of the suggestions were odd.  For example, someone called The Poisonwood Bible upbeat; I wonder if they’ve read it.  (I liked it a lot but wouldn’t call it upbeat.)  Here are the suggestions I garnered which seemed like they might really be upbeat, the first two especially:

  1. Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard, by Kiran Desai (Who knew she wrote a comedy before the devastating Inheritance of Loss?) – India
  2. Last Orders at Harrods, by Michael Holman – Kenya
  3. Red Earth and Pouring Rain, by Vikram Chandra – India
  4. Wizard of the Crow, by Ngugi wa Thiongo – Kenya
  5. The Whale Caller, by Zakes Mda – South Africa
  6. Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, by Jorge Amado – Brazil
  7. Gabriela, Clove, and Cinnamon, by Jorge Amado – Brazil
  8. Spud, by John van de Ruit – South Africa

And here a few that might be upbeat (I wasn’t totally convinced by those who posted):

  1. Uhuru Street, by MG Vassanji – Kenya
  2. The Gunny Sack, by MG Vassanji – Kenya
  3. Measuring Time, by Helon Habila – Nigeria
  4. The Power of One, by Bryce Courtenay – South Africa
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5 thoughts on “non-depressing development fiction: FOUND!”

  1. I would not call Measuring Time upbeat! Did I give you that impression? Less devastating than some I’ve read, but definitely not upbeat.

  2. Also, I would not call The Power of One exactly upbeat, but I remember it as being inspiring in some ways. And a page turner, too.

  3. Yes, I was skeptical about those: that’s why they were only in the “maybe” upbeat section. Someone said they were, but I think by upbeat they meant “not TOO depressing”: come on, people! standards!

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