Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun by Sarah Ladipo Manyika

Morayo Da Silva, a cosmopolitan Nigerian woman, lives in hip San Francisco. On the cusp of seventy-five, she is in good health and makes the most of it, enjoying road trips in her vintage Porsche, chatting to strangers, and recollecting characters from her favourite novels. Then she has a fall and her independence crumbles. Without the support of family, she relies on friends and chance encounters. As Morayo recounts her story, moving seamlessly between past and present, we meet Dawud, a charming Palestinian shopkeeper, Sage, a feisty, homeless Grateful Dead devotee, and Antonio, the poet whom Morayo desired more than her ambassador husband.
A subtle story about ageing, friendship and loss, this is also a nuanced study of the erotic yearnings of an older woman.

“In dreamlike prose, Manyika dips in and out of her present, her past, in a story that argues always for generosity, for connection, for a vigorous and joyful endurance.“ Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club.

Review

‘Dr. Morayo Da Silva is one of the most memorable characters you are likely to encounter on the page – intelligent, indomitable, author and survivor of a large life. In dreamlike prose, Manyika dips in and out of her present, her past, in a story that argues always for generosity, for connection, for a vigorous and joyful endurance.’ – Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves; ‘Manyika’s story about an elderly Nigerian woman is quiet, sophisticated and it expands the canon of contemporary African literature into welcome new territory.’ – Bernardine Evaristo, author of Mr Loverman; ‘If aging be a lamp, then Morayo, the protagonist in Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun is a mesmerizing glow. Astute, sensual, funny, and moving.’ – NoViolet Bulawayo, author of We Need New Names; ‘Sarah Manikya’s ‘Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun’ is the rare sort of book that, from the instant you pick it up, you know that you will privy to the most intimate secrets. It is as if Dr. Morayo Da Silva is speaking directly into your ear. A real life-force of a character whose honesty, warmth, energy, and bravery in the face of inevitable loss springs forth on the page. Chekhov once said that the ‘Russian loves to recall living, but he does not love living.” Da Silva manages, in her unique way, to love both, the remembering and life in the present tense. A beautiful, important new novel, and one that will continue to echo in a reader’s mind for a long time after.’ – Peter Orner, author of Love and Shame and Love; ‘S.L. Manyika writes with great verve and gentle wit, illuminating her characters with subtle insight.’ – Jamal Mahjoub, author of Travelling with Djinns; ‘In this gorgeous and finely crafted book Sarah Manyika takes a sideways look at the lives of other people, lives that usually pass us and each other by, that when they touch may do so with no more than a glancing blow, but may also connect, as they do in Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun, tenderly, simply and sweetly. Manyika’s novel shows ordinary people at their best. Uplifting!’ – Aminatta Forna, author of The Memory of Love; Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun follows the adventures of the fabulous Dr. Morayo, a woman dancing on the edge of old age. This remarkable novel contains multitudes. It is a story of aging; the wry, stately voice of Dr. Morayo gives us a Grand Old Heroine for our times: mischievous, wise, fallible, feisty, and above all, strong. It is a love affair with San Francisco; a contrapuntal variety of voices and perspectives bring the city to eager, brimming life. And it is deeply political: speaking of a Nigerian woman’s awesome sense of power and her simultaneous anguish at the depredations of her boko-haramed hometown. Wise, tender and beautifully voiced, Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun is a storytelling triumph.’ – Lavanya Sankaran, author of The Red Carpet.

About the Author

Sarah Ladipo Manyika was raised in Nigeria and has lived in Kenya, France, and England. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and currently teaches literature at San Francisco State University. Sarah’s first novel, In Dependence, was published by Legend Press (London) and Cassava Republic Press (Abuja). Sarah sits on the boards of Hedgebrook and San Francisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora and was the Chair of Judges for the Etisalat Prize for Literature in 2015. Sarah is host of OZY’s video series, Write.

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