Excerpt from A Bit of Difference by Sefi Atta, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

A Bit of Difference

by Sefi Atta

A Bit of Difference
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    Dec 2012, 224 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Smith

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"You, too."

"Now, is it… Dee or Day-ola?"

"Day."

Anne may well begin to curse and kick and Deola would merely take a step back. It surprises her how naturally this habit of detaching herself from her colleagues comes. They walk outdoors and into the humidity and racket of the ground transportation zone, two women in sensible suits and pumps. Anne waddles—she is pigeon-toed—and Deola strides as if she has been prompted to stand up straight.

"How was your flight?" Anne asks.

"Not bad," Deola says.

Lying like this is also instinctive. She wouldn't want to come across as a whiner. A bus roars past, the heat from its exhaust pipes enveloping them.

"Did you get enough sleep?" Anne asks.

"I did, thanks."

Anne regards her sideways. "I'm sure a few more hours won't hurt."

Deola's face has revealed more than she would like. They head toward the loading bay as Anne suggests she go to her hotel and start her review the next morning.

"If that's all right with you," she says.

"Of course," Anne says.

"Thanks," Deola says.

She has been working at LINK for three months, following a lackluster stint in a consultancy that specialized in not-for-profit organizations. LINK, an international charity foundation, has a hierarchy, but not one that encourages rivalry as the accountancy firm she trained in did. LINK's money comes from well-meaning sources and goes out to well-deserving causes. She is the director of internal audit at the London office and Anne is the director of international affairs at the Atlanta office.

Anne leaves her at the loading bay and returns with her car, a cream-colored Toyota Camry. The mat on Deola's side of the car is clean compared to Anne's, which is covered with sand. Anne has changed into sandals and her feet are pale, even though it is summer.

"So how is Kate doing?" she asks, as she drives off.

"Kate's very well," Deola says. "She's back at work this week."

Kate Meade is Anne's counterpart in the London office. She is pregnant with her second child and was sick with toxoplasmosis.

"It must be catching," Anne says.

"Toxoplasmosis?"

"No, pregnancy, I mean. When last we spoke she said someone else in London has been on maternity leave. Pamela?"

"Pam Collins." "It must have been hard, with all the absences."

"Pam will be back soon."

"Yes?"

"Yes. She's just had her baby."

Deola could be more forthcoming, but she prefers not to talk about her colleagues. Pam is on maternity leave until the end of the summer. The administrative department has been in a state of backlog. There was some talk about hiring a temp, but Kate decided not to. They had a temp from New Zealand once before and he took too many smoke breaks.

"Ali and I would like to have one," Anne says. "What did Pam have?"

"Um… a boy, I believe."

"Ah, a boy. That's what I would like. Ali wants a girl."

Deola assumes Anne is married to a Muslim man, which makes her regret her moment of anxiety when, on her way to the bathroom on the plane, she saw a man who looked Arab reading an Arabic-to-English translation dictionary. He was dressed in military khakis. She was not the only passenger giving him furtive looks. Now she wonders if he was working for the US government.

She has reservations about the orange alert the US is on. She has referred to the alerts in general as Banana Republic scare tactics, like Idi Amin or Papa Doc trying to keep people in check with rumors of juju and voodoo, and has compared the Iraq war casualties to Mobutu sacrificing human blood to the gods to ensure his longevity in office. She is in the US to learn how the Atlanta office managed their launch of Africa Beat, an HIV awareness campaign. She and Anne talk about the UK launch, which is a few months away. Her colleagues in Atlanta have not been able to send all their financial records by e-mail or to explain figures via the phone.

From A Bit of Difference by Sefi Atta. Copyright © 2012 by Sefi Atta. Excerpted by permission of Interlink Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Lagos Inspires Nigerian Writers

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: A Great Reckoning
    A Great Reckoning
    by Louise Penny
    Canadian author Louise Penny is back with her twelfth entry in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache ...
  • Book Jacket: Homegoing
    Homegoing
    by Yaa Gyasi
    It's all very well to challenge people to be the masters of their own destiny, but when you&#...
  • Book Jacket: When Breath Becomes Air
    When Breath Becomes Air
    by Paul Kalanithi
    When Breath Becomes Air is the autobiography of Paul Kalanithi, written in the time period between ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Who Said...

The thing that cowardice fears most is decision

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay:
$400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.