Baking Cakes in Kigali: A Novel

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Bantam Books, 2010 - Fiction - 320 pages
3 Reviews

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This soaring novel introduces us to Angel Tungaraza: mother, cake baker, pillar of her community, keeper of secrets big and small. Angel’s kitchen is an oasis in the heart of Rwanda, where visitors stop to order cakes but end up sharing their stories, transforming their lives, leaving with new hope. In this vibrant, powerful setting, unexpected things are beginning to happen: A most unusual wedding is planned, a heartbreaking mystery involving Angel’s own family unravels, and extraordinary connections are made—as a chain of events unfolds that will change Angel’s life and the lives of those around her in the most astonishing ways.


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The book was charming but...a white woman writing about black women's experiences was offensive to me, how very patronizing for her to even think she could speak for black women. And even more offensive, this seems like a contrived knock off of The Ladies Detective Agency which was a white MAN writing about a black woman's experience. I am a white woman raised in Hawaii, I would never consider assuming the voice of an ethnic Hawaiian woman even if it were fiction. Gaile Parkin, please stick to your own experiences, I am sure being raised white in an African country has given you plenty to write about.  

Review: Baking Cakes in Kigali: A Novel

User Review  - Christine - Goodreads

I started out not liking this book. I thought the author had a checklist of issues she wanted to cover and was stuffing them into this short novel. But as I read I came to love this book. Her message ... Read full review

Selected pages


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Section 11
Section 12
Section 13
Section 14
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Section 16
Section 17

Section 9

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About the author (2010)

Gaile Parkin was born and raised in Zambia and studied at universities in South Africa and England. She has lived in many different parts of Africa, including Rwanda, where Baking Cakes in Kigali is set. She spent two years in Rwanda as a VSO volunteer at the new university doing a wide range of work: teaching, mentoring, writing learning materials, working with the campus clinic to counsel students with HIV/AIDS, and doing gender advocacy and empowerment work. Evenings and weekends, she counselled women and girls who were survivors. Many of the stories told by the characters in Baking Cakes for Kigali are based on or inspired by stories Parkin was told herself. She is currently a freelance consultant in the fields of education, gender, and HIV/AIDS.

From the Hardcover edition.

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