I’ve just finished The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell. It took me about six weeks to read it—it’s a big book, and I’ve had snippets of time. What I loved about it is the way it moved from being a historical narrative into science fictional territory, creating something of an alternative reality for Zambia’s near future. I don’t really know any other novel that does this movement in quite this way. The story is told by a chorus of voices, each of whom is engaging in their own way, and another fascinating way about this book is the unexpected way they come together at the end. I still need to mull it over.
The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell. Hogarth, May 2020.
Reviewer bio: Olga Zilberbourg’s fiction has appeared in Confrontation, World Literature Today, Narrative, Outpost 19’s Golden State 2017 anthology, and others. She co-hosts the weekly San Francisco Writers Workshop.