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Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin
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Baking Cakes in Kigali (2009)

by Gaile Parkin

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6627721,994 (3.88)117
  1. 30
    The No. 1 Ladiesʼ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (elbakerone)
    elbakerone: Although they take place in different African countries (Smith's Botswana and Parkin's Rwanda), both books have a similar flavor with the leading ladies helping out their neighbors. Throughout their respective stories, each book reveals a bit about the culture and daily life of the country where it takes place.… (more)
  2. 10
    The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama (infiniteletters)
  3. 00
    The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (krazy4katz)
    krazy4katz: The lives of 3 people in Sierra Leone intersect after the end of the civil war. The traumas of war, its effect on love, compassion and one's ability to heal oneself are beautifully described.
  4. 00
    A Cup of Friendship by Deborah Rodriguez (infiniteletters)
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» See also 117 mentions

English (72)  German (3)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (77)
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
At first glance a book that examines Rwandan genocide and the AIDS crisis would hardly seem to be an enjoyable and entertaining read yet this novel deals with these topics and so much more. Angel is a well respected cake baker who dispenses sage advice and beautiful cakes for all occasions. Additionally Angel is the primary care taker for her 5 grandchildren. Angel deals with the difficulties in her life with a gentle spirit and a positive outlook ( )
  cdyankeefan | Aug 26, 2018 |
A bit twee for my taste. But if you like The No. 1 Detective Agency I think you will like this. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
How to review this book! This was a wonderful & unexpected reading experience about life in Rwanda against a backdrop of recovering from the genocide & the reality of the aids epidemic. This was done in a totally engaging way, but did pull at your heart strings in a number of places. Angel deals with all these issues affecting herself & others, whilst arranging to make cakes for them and drinking tea. A delightful book. Please read it! ( )
  Andrew-theQM | Dec 26, 2017 |
I really enjoyed this book. I picked it off a library shelf because of the colourful cover and intriguing title. It deals with just about every major issue facing present-day Africans in a very hopeful and comic way, without diminishing the gravity of the situations. I appreciated that approach: it is informative and mildly insightful, relevant to any culture without depressing the reader. There is sufficient human interest and joy in the stories,too. It is a story about resilient survivors and those who know nothing but moving forward. The writing is not Pulitzer material, but it never interfered or art of against my reading. An easy read with substance - such a rarity. ( )
  LDVoorberg | Dec 3, 2017 |
Angel Tungaraza is living with her husband and grandchildren in a compound in Kigali, Rwanda, where she had a cake-making business she operates out of the family’s apartment kitchen. Angel is frequently privy to her customer’s secrets, and as a “professional somebody,” she know that she must keep these confidences. But there’s nothing to say that she cannot act to try to help her customers as they negotiate the pitfalls of life, and celebrate the joys of living.

This is a delightful debut novel. I love Angel – she’s wise, discreet, confident, compassionate, decisive and a great friend and mentor. There are several humorous episodes (Capt Calixta’s belief that a white woman will marry him if he presents her with a cake!), and several touchingly sad ones (the unhappiness of a young bride married to a serial philanderer, or the women who feel they have no other choice but to become prostitutes to earn money to feed their families), but Angel deals with any situation with aplomb and compassion. In the process, she learns something about herself and strengthens her own marriage by opening a conversation about a very difficult subject.

Parkin peoples the novel with a wide array of characters from many walks of life: native Rwandans, Americans, Canadians, Indians, Germans, etc. Some are wealthy, some are impoverished. They all form a community and celebrate together with one of Angel’s excellent cakes, of course!

I’ll definitely read more from this author. ( )
  BookConcierge | Apr 19, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
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In the same way that a bucket of water reduces a cooking fire to ashes-a few splutters of shocked disbelief, a hiss of anger, and then a chill all the more penetrating for having so abruptly supplanted intense heat-in just that way, the photograph that she now surveyed extinguished all her excitement.
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Once in a great while a debut novelist comes along who dazzles us with rare eloquence and humanity, who takes us to bold new places and into previously unimaginable lives. Gaile Parkin is just such a talent--and Baking Cakes in Kilgali is just such a novel. This gloriously written tale--set in modern-day Rwanda--introduces one of the most singular and engaging characters in recent fiction: Angel Tungaraza--mother, cake baker, keeper of secrets--a woman living on the edge of chaos, finding ways to transform lives, weave magic, and create hope amid the madness swirling all around her.

In Kigali, Angel runs a bustling business: baking cakes for all occasions--cakes filled with vibrant color, buttery richness, and, most of all, a sense of hope only Angel can deliver....A CIA agent's wife seeks the perfect holiday cake but walks away with something far sweeter...a former boy-soldier orders an engagement cake, then, between sips of tea, shares an enthralling story...weary human rights workers...lovesick limo drivers. Amid this cacophony of native tongues, love affairs, and confessions, Angel's kitchen is an oasis where people tell their secrets, where hope abounds and help awaits.

In this unlikely place, in the heart of Rwanda, unexpected things are beginning to happen: A most unusual wedding is planned...a heartbreaking mystery--involving Angel's own family--unravels...and extraordinary connections are being made among the men and women who have tasted Angel's beautiful cakes...as a chain of events unfolds that will change Angel's life--and the lives of those around her--in the most astonishing ways.
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"Baking Cakes in Kigali" is a novel about the real meaning of reconciliation - about how, in the aftermath of tragedy, life goes on and people still manage to find reasons to celebrate.

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