Susi Wyss

The Civilized World Susi Wyss Cover

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• Selected by Oprah as “A Book to Watch For”

• Winner of the Maria Thomas Fiction Award

• On More Magazine's list of Small Wonders

• An Africa Book Club 2011 Book of the Year

What people are saying about The Civilized World:

"[A] smart, urbane debut….Wyss offers nuanced takes on vastly different corners of Africa, transcending travelogue to achieve resonant narratives—sometimes funny, sometimes stark—with both grit and heart."
Publisher’s Weekly

“[Wyss] infuses her debut novel with a warmth and empathy that practically radiates off the page....[Her] memorable characters, especially the proprietor of the Precious Brother Salon, drive the narrative, which arcs gracefully toward an unexpected resolution.”
—Baltimore Magazine

“What Wyss does best in her literary debut is depict the awkward striving of individuals trying to maintain their own mores and routines while surrounded by an alien set of values and expectations….unique and memorable.”
—Boston Globe

“[A] thoughtful portrayal of Africa, where the characters, African and non-African, each have a perspective on Africa to share and a story to tell about their world…[This] book is in many respects a call to look beyond traditional portrayals of the continent.”
—Africa Book Club

"[Wyss] beautifully and effortlessly captures the essence of human connection, demonstrating that despite the cultural and personal differences that separate individuals, we are often related by common threads."
Library Journal

“Wise and artful….Behind this novel there is an author whose methods are sure and deliberate.”
—Neworld Review

“Susi Wyss infuses her characters with the same affability and intimate pain that Alexander McCall Smith infused Precious Ramotswe, his #1 Lady Detective, but on a much wider and nuanced scale….The plots are…creatively conceived, well-paced and satisfying…[and] the characters are breathtakingly alive.”
—Peace Corps Writers
“At once serious and light-hearted, this story reminded me of a great favorite of mine, also a novel-in-stories, Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteredge.”
—Hudson Valley News

"Whether in Africa or America, the characters in Wyss’ linked stories navigate a world ‘that could knock you off your feet when you least suspected it.’ Wyss grants her appealing characters a mesmerizing mixture of fresh starts, second chances, forgiveness, and redemption."

"Paths intersect and inner worlds are exposed in a diligent collection of female-centered stories with African and American settings….A sober debut which scrutinizes family and relationship bonds with empathy."
Kirkus Review

"Wyss dispels the vague Western concept of Africa as a monolith, a continent teeming with poverty, disease, and relentless civil unrest; instead, she depicts its quotidian ebb and flow….[and] successfully transmutes personal experience into affecting fiction."

"I am full of admiration for how vividly Susi Wyss brings Africa to life and for the empathy with which she explores the longings of her characters—African and American—for children, home, money, work and family. A beautiful and timely book."
Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street