Heike Becker, anthropologist and writer, reviews The World Turned Upside Down for the Nordic Journal of African Studies.

Bianca Ndour, the protagonist of Leo Zeilig’s The World Turned Upside Down, is a celebrated author of Senegalese-Scottish descent. A sought-after speaker, she travels from her London academic life to Africa, where she addresses packed audiences in cities like Cape Town and Dakar. While the ostensibly progressive bourgeoisie celebrates her books on regeneration and rebirth, Bianca gazes at these audiences with as much disgust as she looks back on her own earlier attempts at changing the world through personal inner transformation. Now she is sure of one thing only: the reawakening and rebirth of the world has to start with the critique of political economy and violent revolution. We see little of her in practical revolutionary action in the novel though. For the most part we see her doing what academics of international fame have done, at least in pre-pandemic times: she teaches in packed lecture theatres, does book presentations, travels by air, stays in hotels, and meets up with other members of global intellectual and social elites.

Read the full review here