Adjoa had been going to Madame Janice's every week for the last three months, but she still couldn't put her finger on why her stomach clenched and her shoulders stiffened every time her twin brother, Kojo, drove her to the white woman's well-kept house. Madame Janice was a perfectly pleasant American lady who seemed to appreciate Adjoa's massages. Other than the African masks and statues displayed prominently in the living room, other than the rather rude night watchman, there was really nothing about Madame Janice or her home that could account for Adjoa's anxiety.
"In The Civilized World, almost all the characters live, whether from choice or necessity, between countries and cultures. 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"
"What [Wyss] does best in her literary debut is depict the akward striving of individuals trying to maintain their own mores and routines while surrounded by an alien set of values and expectations...Unique and memorable."--The Boston Globe
"These insightful stories, some set in a beauty salon, explore the moving, often clueless relationships between Ghanaian and American women."--O Magazine
In this 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."--Publishers Weekly
"Wyss grants her appealing characters a mesmerizing mixture of fresh starts, second chances, forgiveness, and redemption."--Booklist
"[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