Baking Cakes in Kigali is a tale in fourteen confections, and behind each cake lies a story. As baker Angel Tungaraza busies herself with her customers' orders, we learn about their lives: Ken Akimoto with his penchant for partying, her best client and Bosco, his lovesick driver; Dr. Rejoice, without whom she'd never cope with the hot flashes that send her delving into her brassiere for a handkerchief so often these days; Odile, an AIDS worker whose love life Angel has taken a keen interest in; and not forgetting young Leocadie, Modeste, and their baby boy, Beckham.
Angel works her magic, solving problems for all around her; and in turn, they help her lay her own demons to rest: perhaps she can finally face the truth about the loss of her own son and daughter, and achieve a sense of peace.
Hauntingly charming, funny, and involving, Baking Cakes in Kigali , set in Rwanda, is a novel about the real meaning of reconciliation - about how, in the aftermath of tragedy, life goes on and people still manage to find reasons to celebrate.
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"With a lightness of touch, Gaile Parkin's Baking Cakes in Kigali deftly uncovers the joys (and there are many) and sorrows of the survivors. Fans of Precious Ramotswe from Alexander McCall Smith's Number One Ladies Detective Agency will adore this too." - The Daily Mail (U.K.)
"An irresistible story of laughter and hope .... Baking Cakes in Kigali is a charming and a beautifully written novel of life in a country recovering from terrible horrors." - The Bookseller (U.K.)
"Fluent and deeply moving, especially in its portrayal of women survivors." - The Independent (U.K.)
"Angel ... is the novel's towering achievementalong with the sense Parkin creates of a country riven by its past yet seeking repair.... Baking Cakes in Kigali makes you feel better about the world." - The Scotsman
"Born and raised in Zambia, Parkin offers a fascinating personal glimpse into a culture unfamiliar to most Americans, but better editing could have transformed her slightly stilted effort into a book to remember." - Kirkus Reviews
"In Parkin's eagerness to introduce a rainbow of cultures and personalities, she crowds her enjoyable but terminally dedicated heroine, forcing Angel to take a saccharine supporting role in her own story..." - Publishers Weekly
"This is a good choice for readers interested in the political and social life of African countries and fans of Alexander McCall Smith's "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series." - School Library Journal (Adult Books for High School Students)
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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 is currently a freelance consultant in the fields of education, gender, and HIV/AIDS.
Her second novel, When Hoopoes Go To Heaven", will publish in the UK in Feb 2012.
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