Buy Used
Used - Good See details
Price: £2.80

Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Tell the Publisher!
I’d like to read this book on Kindle

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Nervous Conditions [Paperback]

Tsitsi Dangarembga
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover £10.04  
Paperback £6.21  
Paperback, 12 May 1988 --  

Book Description

12 May 1988
This story exlpores the alienation of two young African girls - Nyasha, brought up in England and now a stranger amongst her own people, and Tamba, who leaves her village for the pricey mission school.

Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: The Women's Press Ltd (12 May 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 070434100X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0704341005
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.4 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 308,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description


Many good novels written by men have come out of Africa, but few by black women. This is the novel we have been waiting for...I am sure it will be a classic. -- Doris Lessing --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

I was not sorry when my brother died. Nor am I apologising for my callousness, as you may define it, my lack of feeling. For it is not that at all. I feel many things these days, much more than I was able to feel in the days when I was young and my brother died, and there are reasons for this more than the mere consequence of age. Therefore I shall not apologise but begin by recalling the facts as I remember them that led up to my brother's death, the events that put me in a position to write this account. For though the event of my brother's passing and the events of my story cannot be separated, my story is not after all about death, but about my escape and Lucia's; about my mother's and Maiguru's entrapment; and about Nyasha's rebellion - Nyuha, far-minded and isolated, my uncle's daughter, whose rebellion may not in the end have been successful. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
First Sentence
I was not sorry when my brother died. Read the first page
Explore More
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Sell a Digital Version of This Book in the Kindle Store

If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store. Learn more

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
I thought this was a brave, original novel, with a clear-sighted, at times fierce, view of the world.
The novel gives the reader a chance to get under the skin of a Zimbabwean woman at the cusp of maturity, on the brink of making her way in the world - against the odds. Given that I'd never been to southern Africa or studied the socio-political history of the period (the 1960s and '70s), it came as a surprise to be so transported into another mindset and way of life.
Tambudzai's relationships with her family, especially her more Westernised cousin, were fascinating.
It's a very intriguing novel, which I'd recommend to anyone. As well as being a compelling read, it really gives you the chance to learn about - and experience vicariously - another time and place.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking and excellent read! 14 Sep 1999
By A Customer
This book opened a window for me into the lives of black African women who manage to gain an education especially at a time in Southern Rhodesia when to be black was to be bottom of the heap and to be female as well was even less advantageous.
The book tells a story of how an African girl surmounts the apparently insurmountable in a patriarchal society to gain an education. The influences of the other significant women in her life, supportive or otherwise and the ultimate affect of that education on her relationships within an African society.
I went to school with the author although she was a year ahead of me. I was a 'European' colonial from Zambia. Tsitsi stood out at school for her brains and her posh English accent which in Southern Rhodesia at that time was a considered a matter worth commenting on. Given the politics at the time - the early seventies during UDI - within the country as well as within the school I was keen to read her book when I heard she had written one. I was not disappointed. The book offered some thought provoking insights into a world that was closed to us white girls despite the multi-racial nature of the school.
I can highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in women's issues and racial issues.
Was this review helpful to you?
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read 5 May 2005
By Edwin
"Nervous conditions" is a book about colonialism and the alienating influence it has on people who lose touch with their roots. It is a dilemma for African children who are seeking education who often find that in adopting the new culture of the colonizers, they often can no longer associate with the traditional ways of their own people. This superbly written book will touch any reader to the core. The writer clearly dissected the negative effects of colonialism and the settler-politics that caused so much strife in Zimbabwe, creating two tragedies in the persons of Ian Smith and Robert Mugabe. This very powerful and touching novel is not only revealing but also opens our minds to more questions, the most powerful of which is the problem of the "colonized mind', a diseases that is still plaguing Africa until today.Another good recommendation is DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE, THE OLD MAN AND THE MEDAL
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An unseen window to the world of African women 30 Jun 2008
By Sofia
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Set in colonial Rhodesia, Tsitsi Dangarembga's novel chronicles the beginning of Tambudzai's new life after her brother's untimely death leaves the way open for her to acquire an education.

Coming from poverty, Tambudzai's shot at gaining a much-desired education relies on chance and the benevolence of her greatly revered, educated uncle, who believes that someone in every branch of his family should have an education to help allieviate the poverty endured by the rest. However, Tambudzai's initial desire to expand her horizons brings its own challenges and contradictions with it, best illustrated through the person of her cousin Nyasha, whose Westernised behaviour is increasingly regarded as unbecoming of a girl.

Although this is at times quite a heavy read, desribing in some detail the lives of rural African women around their often incompetent but ever superior men-folk, and despite the fact that it has a very unsatisfactory ending, this remains a very thoughtful and insightful book. There are so few African novels about women, that it is refreshing to read about often unseen characters. Although you are constantly aware of their second-class status within their families, schools and society at large, this is engaging and quietly gripping and I'm left feelng that there should be more to come of Tambudzai's story.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is the first novel written by Tsitsi Dangarembga and it won The Commonwealth Writers' Prize. According to wikipedia it was the first novel written in English by a black Zimbabwean woman.

The novel is partly auto-biographical in nature. The story is set in Zimbabwe and told from the perspective of a young Shona girl, Tambudzai (Tambu). Tambu lives with her parents on their small homestead but when her only brother dies she is sent to live with her wealthy uncle to become educated so that she can support her family.

Throughout the book, Tambu longs to be educated like her uncle Babamukuru. Babamukuru is the hero of the family, providing the goat and other food for them to eat at Christmas, providing school fees for her brother and taking responsibility for any family decisions which have to be made. However, when Tambu goes to live with her uncle we start to see his flaws, how he struggles to control his own daughter, Nyasha, who grow up in England and is struggling to adjust to the different culture of Zimbabwe, how he works too hard and is often very stressed and how is wife, who is viewed with envy by the other women of the family is actually quite unhappy and frustrated.

Tambu's father is a lazy man who will say the right thing in front of her uncle but do nothing about it when her uncle is absent. Her mother has become ground down with weariness following the death of her brother and all the work she does on the farm. Tambu's father appears to do nothing.

Nyasha, Tambu's cousin, struggles to adapt to Zimbabwean Shona culture. She has seen a different way of living in England and doesn't see why she should revert back to the traditional Shona ways of (to her) mindless obedience to her father.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Published 1 month ago by p m bloomhill
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story!
Actually I first read this book many years ago and loved it. It is beautifully written and is one of those stories that makes you think and sticks with you afterwards. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rosetwine
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful
Stunning, moving, beautiful book
Published 1 month ago by Mr fox
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift
Well this was a gift which I bought for my friends daughter and I'm not sure what review to offer. Amazon should set up an option to account for that.
Published 2 months ago by RunnerBeans
5.0 out of 5 stars How did it take me so long to find this book?
A coming-of-age, but in such a very special age. Dangarembga tackles post-colonial attitudes and sexual politics in patriarchal Zimbabwe, set against a backdrop of rural, brutal... Read more
Published 5 months ago by leekmuncher
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book I have ever read.
What is there not to say about this book, I first read this book as a A Level literature student and I have always has a soft spot for this my favourite book of all times. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Bridget Mutowembwa
5.0 out of 5 stars for my daughter
I got this for my daughter she needed it for school she is very happy with it and is enjoying she dose give it the thumbs up
Published 8 months ago by Mr Shaun Saunders
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking
A thought provoking book that touches on issues around gender, colonialism, race and culture. A must read for anyone seeking a good read that provokes contemplation
Published 10 months ago by 'Delia
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching and brilliant
I wasn't expecting to like this novel, but I couldn't put it down. The novel's narrator, Tambudzai, is a young black girl living in Southern Rhodesia, or modern day Zimbabwe, who... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Pepper
5.0 out of 5 stars Very understated.
Written in a very understated fashion. Makes it even more effective. Shame she did not write more novels, as she clearly has talent.
Published 12 months ago by Michael Mukasa
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category