These Letters End in Tears
by Musih Tedji Xaviere
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Pub Date 12 Mar 2024 | Archive Date 01 Mar 2024
Bessem notices Fatima for the first time on the soccer field—muscular and focused, she’s the only woman playing and seems completely at ease. When Fatima chases a rogue ball in her direction, Bessem freezes, mesmerized by the athlete’s charm and beauty. One playful wink from Fatima, and Bessem knows her life will never be the same.
In Cameroon, a country where same-sex relationships are punishable by law, the odds are stacked against Bessem and Fatima from the start. And when Fatima’s older brother, a staunch Muslim, finds out about their affair, he intervenes by physically assaulting them, an incident that precedes a police raid at the only gay bar in town. After spending days in jail, Fatima goes missing without a trace, and Bessem is left with only rumors of her whereabouts. Has Fatima been sentenced to an unknown prison? Has she been banished from her community, or married off, as some have suggested? Or something even more sinister?
Thirteen years later, Bessem is now a university professor leading a relatively quiet life, occasionally and secretly dating other women. However, she has never forgotten Fatima. After spotting a mutual friend for the first time in years—the last person who may have seen Fatima—Bessem embarks on a winding search for her lost love.
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR THESE LETTERS END IN TEARS
“An urgent and devastating story about the cost of living in a place that refuses to recognize your humanity. With vivid and textured prose, Xaviere weaves a tale readers will not soon forget.”
—Soon Wiley, author of When We Fell Apart
“A beautifully tender, heartfelt story about love and the devastating consequences of a world that is not yet all accepting. Xaviere’s prose is deft and delicate, pulling you quickly in and holding you, as though you were living it.”
—JJ Bola, author of The Selfless Act of Breathing
“Xaviere has woven a powerful and needed love story using gorgeous prose and an epistolary style that makes you feel like you are right there with Bessem’s yearning, heartbreak, and hope. I can’t wait to see what she does next.”
—Soraya Palmer, author of The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter and Other Essential Ghosts