Monday, October 12, 2015

Baking Cakes in Kigali, by Gaile Parkin

Baking Cakes in Kigali is the story of Angel Tungaraza, a Tanzanian woman living in Rwanda, where her husband teaches at a university and the two are raising their five grandchildren because both of their children are "late." Angel is a baker, a creator of fantastic cakes that reflect the individuality of the people they honor. She is also the center of her community, serving as a resource to people with a variety of needs/problems and bringing people together.

Angel's interactions in the community involve her in a variety of significant problems--discrimination against people with "the virus," the aftermath of genocide, crazy government officials, poverty, and more. She deals with each--even as it impinges on her own family--with good cheer and practical advice.

Angel is a delightful character and the book is optimistic--but I actually found that to be a problem in terms of my enjoyment of the book. If Africa's problems could be solved by a good-natured pastry chef, the world would be a better place.  Somehow, however, that just seems like science fiction.

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