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Call and Response

Published by Oneworld Publications
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

'A terrific collection' Monica Ali, author of Brick Lane and Love Marriage

A Most Anticipated Title for Oprah Daily, Essence, BuzzFeed, The Millions and Brittle Paper

Full of heart and humour, Gothataone Moeng's first collection, set between the rural village of Serowe and the thrumming capital city of Gaborone, captures a chorus of voices from a country in flux.

Meet a young woman who has worn the same mourning clothes for almost a year, and a teenage girl who shies away from the room where her once vibrant aunt lies dying. Elsewhere, watch as a younger sister hides her romantic exploits from her family while her older brother openly flaunts his infidelities, and a traveller returns home laden with confusion and shame.

Moeng, part of a new generation of writers coming out of Africa whose work is exploding onto the literary scene, offers us an insight into communities, experiences and landscapes through these cinematic stories peopled with unforgettable female protagonists.

'A good short story is a bit of alchemy, showing us so much in so few pages. Gothataone Moeng's debut collection does this over and over.' Rumaan Alam, author of Leave the World Behind

About The Author

Gothataone Moeng was born in Serowe, Botswana. She was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Fiction, a Summer Workshop scholar at Tin House, and an Emerging Writer Fellow at A Public Space. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in American Short Fiction, One Story, Virginia Quarterly Review, A Public Space, Ploughshares and Oxford American. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Mississippi. She is currently at work on a novel.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (February 2, 2023)
  • Length: 304 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780861543359

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Raves and Reviews

'A terrific collection, deeply rooted in place, sharply observed, comic, fierce, with a fine sense of the tragedy and absurdity of life. I hope it attracts the wide readership it deserves.'

– Monica Ali, author of Brick Lane and Love Marriage

'A good short story is a bit of alchemy, showing us so much in so few pages. Gothataone Moeng's debut collection does this over and over, each story surprising with its music, its warmth, its command of language.'

– Rumaan Alam, author of Leave the World Behind

‘These mouth-wateringly sensory, satisfyingly complex stories, set in rural and urban Botswana…. Not the glance or sharp epiphany in these stories but the long kiss, with the heart as totem, questions in their wake.’

– Irish Times

'These brilliant stories are set in modern Botswana, but delve into age-old longings. Moeng unfurls the luminous inner life of her characters (girls and women for the most part) as they go about their ordinary days, hearts and heads brimful of new wants and desires, but keenly aware of old traditions and family expectations.'

– Daily Mail

'Moving and impressive. Gothataone Moeng is a true writer and true observer of human universals.'

– Maggie Gee, author of The Red Children

'It was a joy to discover the Tswana life in these pages and it is as familiar as kinship. Call and Response teems with life's twists, surprises and shocks and reminds us of our shared humanity. Moeng is generous in detail and humour. She is an exciting voice to join in African conversations.'

– Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, author of The First Woman

'A beautiful collection. What sharply observed vignettes – linked by striking figures, vivid details, a wry and ruminative mood, and deep insight into the vicissitudes of family life.'

– Namwali Serpell, author of The Furrows

'Lyrical and poignant... The author brings insightful prose and a distinctive voice to these layered stories, demonstrating deep knowledge of her characters and care for their worlds. Moeng is a new force in the literary landscape.'

– Publishers Weekly (starred review)

'The debut of a major talent.'

– Souvankham Thammavongsa, author of How to Pronounce Knife

'The publication of Call and Response is cause for celebration. Big-hearted and clear-eyed in their evocation of her beloved Botswana, these radiant stories contain the stuff of life: joys and sorrows, the wisdom of generations, the ceremonies of the everyday. A gorgeous, vital work of literature.'

– Yoon Choi, author of Skinship

'These stories—set mainly in the author’s hometown of Serowe and the Botswanan capital of Gaborone—illuminate the inner lives of girls and women of varying ages. Idiomatic phrases add texture to the prose, elegantly describing the characters' lives and their internal conflicts... A lovely debut brimming with deeply felt and well-rounded stories.'

– Kirkus (starred review)

'Moeng paints beautiful vignettes of modern Botswana, exposing readers to communities and traditions of her home country while exploring dichotomies and relational tensions familiar to all readers. Her beautiful, lyrical prose and memorable characters make this collection a delight to read.'

– Booklist

'This luminous collection of short stories plumbs the depths of women’s interior lives, deftly juxtaposing the quotidian with the universal… Moeng writes with lush, heartfelt intensity that illuminates contemporary Botswana for readers who value complex female characters navigating a rapidly changing world.'

– Library Journal

'The stories in Moeng’s debut collection are grounded in her experience of life in Botswana. Focused on everyday life and families there, the book incorporates both unique and universal themes of relationships, infidelity, loss, sexuality, community, opportunity and love.'

– Ms Magazine, 'Most Anticipated Feminist Books of 2023'

'In Gothataone Moeng’s precise, delightfully detailed collection, Call and Response, we witness the challenges women of all ages face in a modernizing postcolonial Botswana where elements from the old life still remain… Moeng’s stories pulsate with life and accumulate to build a full, rich world.'

– New York Times Book Review

'These nine unhurried, fully realized tales may brim with their protagonists’ yearnings, familial rivalries, regrets and disappointments, but reading them is pure pleasure… Completely unforced and fascinating. Rich, thronging with life, Call and Response is a collection to be treasured.'

– New Internationalist

'Although Moeng is young, her prose is mature – spare and subtle, with both universal and local appeal. Beautifully crafted, they somehow echo US author Elizabeth Strout’s stories. They pull the reader, seemingly effortlessly, into the intimacy of a character, focusing on details and everyday life which open onto wider issues.'

– The Africa Report

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