These Letters End in Tears

Author: Musih Tedji Xaviere

In 1997 a chance encounter leads to romance between two young women, Bessem and Fatima. The odds are stacked against them from the start, a Christian girl with a deviant heart and a Muslim girl leading a double life in an unforgiving place. Despite living in homophobic Cameroon, the two fall completely in love with each other and start a relationship that will mark their lives forever.

Everything changes when Fatima’s older brother, an Islamic extremist, finds out about the affair and intervenes by physically assaulting the couple, leading them to spend three days in jail after the police raids the only gay bar in town. Right after, Fatima goes missing without a trace and Bessem is left wondering about her whereabouts, confronted by various rumors regarding what might have happened. Was Fatima banished from the Muslim community? Did she get married off like her family suggests, or are they using these excuses to cover up something sinister?

Fifteen years down the line, Bessem is now a university professor leading a quiet, untroubled life. However, she has never forgotten Fatima and is still looking for Fatima. Bessem's long-winded search will take her deep into the Muslim world where she's forced to come face to face with her worst nightmare and will, eventually, lead her to the truth behind Fatima’s disappearance and all that comes with it, from justice to her very own future.

A heart-wrenching story about forbidden love and what it means to be queer, Muslim, and Cameroonian in the 21st Century.

Request more information

Original Language

ENGLISH (North America incl. audio) | Catapult
ENGLISH (UK & Commonwealth excl. Canada) | Jacaranda Books


Winner of the Pontas & JJ Bola Emerging Writers Prize 2021


"Musih Tedji Xaviere's debut novel These Letters End In Tears, is a beautifully tender, heartfelt story about love and the devastating consequences of a world that is not yet all accepting. Her 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