Why We Acquired This! these letters end in tears by Musih Tedji Xaviere

These letters end in tears an insightful and heartfelt debut that highlights part of the LGBTQIA+ experience in Cameroon and introduces the reader to women that face extraordinary prejudicial obstacles in service of loving one another.” - Kamillah Brandes

There are stories that transform you, slowly and wholly, and these letters end in tears is very much a book that contains one of those stories. As with all books that come across our desk, we have hopes, and are excited by what will unfold as we read through the pages, but this was a book that caused a collective pause. Flying through the pages of these letters end in tears, we fell in love with Fatima and Bessem, got to know Cameroon and discovered a writer whose work we are excited to spend our lives reading.

In the recent boom of queer stories from across the African continent, these letters end in tears importantly joins the list, partly for its historic telling of stories from Cameroon; a country whose literary narrative is not as widespread as it should be, but also because of its bold discourse of tender, lesbian love at a time when same sex relationships are punishable by law. In Fatima and Bessem, we get a romance of dreams. Told through letters, we get to see a love story begin and then cement itself as cannon. The descriptive language guides us further and further into this world until we feel as present in the room as the characters themselves.

What makes Xaviere an expert storyteller, is her interweaving of the cultural, religious and political landscape in Cameroon into these letters end in tears. In making this love story real to us, she grounds the worlds of Fatima and Bessem in their naive world that allows us to understand the space in which they exist, the intricacies of navigating it and the reality of what they are up against.

This was the story that introduced many of us to the anglo-francophone civil war in Cameroon - a colonial legacy that continues to impact the nation. It is a story that showcases the reality of multi-religious societies and openly critiques religion as a practice rather than any belief systems. It beautifully dissects gender, and how families are shaped by the relationship to gender, particularly in their children.

The cleverness of these letters end in tears and Xaviere’s writing is why Kelechi Okafor, highlights this as a book written with “care and love”. She goes on to aptly describe it as “a gorgeous and heart wrenching debut.”

These Letters End in Tears is now out in hardback and eBook, the perfect book to pick up at your local bookshop.

You can also catch author Xaviere live at events here in April and here in May. More events to be announced soon.