- Title: Children in Contemporary African Fiction
- Author: John A. Kearney
- Publisher: UNISA Press
- Country of Origin: South Africa
- Publication Year: 2017
- ISBN: 9781868888184
- Bib. Info: Paperback; 208pp
Filled with interesting and original insights, Children in Contemporary African Fiction makes for engrossing reading, both for the general reader and the academic. With a keynote tone at once empathetic and non-sentimental John Kearney explores an impressive number of novels by writers from a variety of African countries.
He displays special concern with the experience of family life, school life and religion; different kinds and levels of deprivation; and the exploitative uses of children by adults, among them the use of children as soldiers in harsh conflict situations. He also shows great adroitness and understanding in discussing issues of developing sexuality raised in several of the novels.
Despite their variety, a central thread links these works: the authors of the chosen works allow their central characters to be involved in the construction of their own lives (however limited in some cases their degree of agency may be). At the same time, most of these novelists make their focus as realistic as possible, resisting the idealisation of their child characters – or what John Kearney refers to as ‘sacralisation’.