Synopses & Reviews
Angel Tungaraza--mother, cake baker, keeper of secrets--is 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.
About the Author
Gaile Parkin was born and raised in Zambia and studied at universities in South Africa and England. She has lived in many different parts of Africa, including Rwanda, where Baking Cakes in Kigali
is set. She spent two years in Rwanda as a VSO volunteer at the new university doing a wide range of work: teaching, mentoring, writing learning materials, working with the campus clinic to counsel students with HIV/AIDS, and doing gender advocacy and empowerment work. Evenings and weekends, she counselled women and girls who were survivors. Many of the stories told by the characters in Baking Cakes for Kigali
are based on or inspired by stories Parkin was told herself. She is currently a freelance consultant in the fields of education, gender, and HIV/AIDS.
From the Hardcover edition.
Reading Group Guide
1. Have you ever known a person like Angel Tungaraza?
2. Angel uses baking as part of her own healing process. What is it about baking and cooking that you think provides
3. Is Angel a product of her environment as much as she is an infl uence upon it? Could Angel play the role she plays in her own community in another? In your own community?
4. Do you think it was important to the story that Angel also act as mother to her grandchildren?
5. Is Baking Cakes in Kigali a love story?
6. Much of Baking Cakes in Kigali is based on true stories the author was told while working in communities like the one featured here. How do you think an author should convey these stories? Do you think fi ction or nonfi ction is a more effective vehicle for sharing stories?
7. Have you ever been in a position to give advice as a wiser voice of experience? Did you handle it as Angel did, or differently? How?
8. Is Angel a hero?
9. A major factor of Baking Cakes in Kigali is the idea of rebuilding the communities of Rwanda after years of bloody conflict. What do you see the roles of the female characters in this novel being toward that rebuilding? How does that role differ from the roles of the male characters?
10. The author tackles some truly heartrending subjects with grace and humor. Do you think laughter can heal confl ict or even solve confl ict? Has there been a point in your life where it has worked that way?