Baking Cakes in Kigali, Gaile Parkin

This was a nice book. It wasn’t a complicated book, although it had a lot going on. But it was a nice book. I found it at a used bookstore in Sidney-by-the-sea, but I didn’t pick it up at first. I made the rounds of that bookstore three times and kept coming back to a shelf by the front window, because this book was calling to me and I couldn’t just leave it. I’m glad I didn’t.

It’s the story of a woman named Angel Tunguraza, a Tanzanian woman living in Rwanda who bakes cakes. She’s raising five grandchildren (her own children have died) and is effectively mother to everyone else in her housing complex. And she’s really nice, you know? My own family is frustrating me today, so this fictional mother was a comfort. I could imagine her baking me a cake. There’s horror, here, things like genocide and AIDS are in every chapter, but the novel isn’t really about those things. It’s about the good and kind people on every page, and so I’m glad to have read it. Sometimes it’s a bit formulaic (they drink an awful lot of sweet, spicy tea) but it’s generally full of hope and characters I liked reading about.

Books read: 27


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