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The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah
The story you have asked me to tell begins not with the ignominious ugliness of Lloyd's death but on a long-ago day in April when the sun seared my blistered face and I was nine years old and my father and mother sold me to a strange man. I say my father and my mother, but really it was just my mother.
Memory, the narrator of The Book of Memory, is an albino woman languishing in Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in Harare, Zimbabwe, where she has been convicted of murder. As part of her appeal her lawyer insists that she write down what happened as she remembers it.
The death penalty is a mandatory sentence for murder, and Memory is, both literally and metaphorically, writing for her life. As her story unfolds, "Memory" reveals that she has been tried and convicted for the murder of Lloyd Hendricks, her adopted father. But who was Lloyd Hendricks? Why does Memory feel no remorse for his death? And did everything happen exactly as she remembers?
Moving between the townships of the poor and the suburbs of the rich, and between the past and the present, Memory weaves a compelling tale of love, obsession, the relentlessness of fate and the treachery of memory.
Writing Mystery & Mayhem - Edited by Irene Staunton
This eighth anthology of twelve short stories from Weaver Press reveals again the range and variety, compassion and humour, irony and tragedy with which Zimbabwean writers observe the world around them.
Several writers adopt a tongue-in-cheek approach to the subject: Naishe Nyamubaya takes us behind graphic newspaper headlines with a story of goblins, Jonathon Brakarsh turns the world inside out by constantly reversing our expectations, and Lawrence Hoba draws a situation both ‘collateral and incompatible’.
It is a characteristic murder writers to defy expectation, as Farai Mudzingwa, Bongani Sibanda and Valerie Tagwira do in exploring the ramifications of sudden death. But if we are surprised by some stories, we can only be moved those which draw on the pain and vulnerablity of both the victims and those left behind. Godess Bvukutwa, Isabella Matambanadzo and Donna Kirstein help us to reflect on injustice and loss.
Reading this collection of stories, with subjects ranging from tokolosh to tsunami, and from ghosts to goldfish, reminds us that the world is crazier than we think.
Some Kinds of Childhood: Images of history and resistance in Zimbabwean literature by Robert Muponde
Some Kinds of Childhood: Images of history and resistance in Zimbabwean literature explores the ways in which childhood is constructed and represented in a wide range of black Zimbabwean novels and short stories written in English from 1972 to 2013. In particular, it considers how representations of childhood bear upon questions of history, politics and resistance. By drawing on a range of global theories on childhood, the argument is advanced that, instead of merely seeing childhood in romantic or idyllic terms, it is possible to appreciate it as a contested terrain, one in which the larger tensions and conflicts of the society manifest themselves.
Childhood is accorded by Zimbabwean writers represented in this book a central role in social, political, and cultural concerns by being depicted not only as a matter of focalization and characterization, but a tool for the construction of a wide range of culturally and historically specific sets of ideas and philosophies. They include, inter alia, the ways in which childhood is constructed as a powerful sentimental mythology of a culture s original beauty ; the political trope of children of resistance; the uses of girlhoods as counter-memory; the innovative deployment of dystopian childhoods as counter-strategy; and the emerging post-national moment as post-childhood.
Zimbabwean writers considered in this study include: Charles Mungoshi; Shimmer Chinodya; Geoffrey Ndhlala; Wilson Katiyo; Yvonne Vera; Chenjerai Hove; Tsitsi Dangarembga; Dambudzo Marechera; NoViolet Bulawayo; Memory Chirere; and Christopher Mlalazi.