- Paperback: 190 pages
- Publisher: Weaver Press; 2nd edition (1 Oct. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1779221096
- ISBN-13: 978-1779221094
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.1 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 980,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Hairdresser of Harare Paperback – 1 Oct 2010
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A stunning debut, funny, dramatic with a powerful punch in the end --Drum Magazine
A wonderful novel... The Zimbabwean life left out of the headlines comes alive in this novel... From the beginning The Hairdresser of Harare dives into a world so alive and full of feeling --The Cape Argus
A brave novel for our times... funny, imaginative and succinct --The Standard
lively, clever and ironic --The Witness
This book, reminiscent of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love In The Time of Cholera
--Mango Juice Magazine
About the Author
Tendai Huchu was born in 1982 in Bindura, Zimbabwe. He attended Churchill High School in Harare and from there went to the University of Zimbabwe to study a degree in Mining Engineering. He dropped out in the middle of the first semester, found work briefly in a casino and from there drifted from one job to the next. Four years later he returned to university and is now a podiatrist living in Edinburgh. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The first two sentence of the novel read, "I knew there was something not quite right with Dumi the very first time I ever laid eyes on him, The problem was, I just couldn't tell what it was." It is only in the last third of the book that Sisi discovers what was "not quite right" with him. It devastates her, and her reactions have terrible consequences.
This central story is set against the background of life in Zimbabwe under Mugabe: terrible shortages for all except the people at the top; corruption; an inflation which means that "bricks" of banknotes are needed to pay for purchases; the lawless "veterans" who can be used by the powerful to beat up their opponents; the terrible risks run by homosexuals in that society.
An easy and in the end a very powerful read.
Vimbai is an ordinary woman struggling with work and her family (a daughter, no husband, but she has a home help). There are problems with electricity, safety on the streets, etc. Zimbabwe's currency devaluates while you wait and a white customer in the salon may be evicted by armed war vets.
Altogether not an easy time for Vimbai. She's lucky to have a job, though, as there is 90% unemployment. When Dumisani comes to work at the salon, Vimbai feels threatened as he takes her position as best hairdresser in the salon. But she can't help liking him and she becomes more and more involved in his life and his family.
I very much liked the setting and learned some new things about Zimbabwe. The story didn't explain everything about the country, neither was it hard to follow if you don't know much about the country. So, a book that is both interesting for people that know the country, and those who don't.
Vimbai was rather shocked when she finds out a secret about Dumisani. That sounded very realistic. She did however get over the shock a bit too quickly to my liking, a slower progression from absolute shock to acceptance would have been better, I think. But I loved how Vimbai's brother's philosophy club helped her out. Brilliant!
A really nice read that I can recommend to anyone who would like to read a story about a country they don't know much about.
We follow the entire story through Vimbai's eyes and I love that woman. I was very dubious at first, but once I realised how realistically the author depicts her, her situation and her surroundings, I couldn't help but fall for her. She is a strong woman, proud of her independence, but not too proud to not accept good help when offered. The book tells her story through her eyes and we follow her as she grudgingly accepts Dumi's friendship and discovers that so much more is within reach, but also realises that not all is at it appears and is forced to make a decision that can have dire consequences.
As mentioned above the setting is very realistic. The poverty, the corruption, the question of race and culture - it all paints a very clear picture: Zimbabwe is not an easy country to live in. Having recently been to Kenya, I felt I had an even deeper insight in the happenings, having seen just how poor some are and the miserable circumstances they live under - and just how richly others live in stark contrast.
The book is really well written and I strongly recommend others to give it a read. It is much more mature than my usual YA genre, but I truly enjoyed it and wish more knew of this African jewel - it truly deserves much more attention.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Loved, loved, loved, loved, LOVED it! As a homesick RhoZimbo this appealed to me on so many levels. The landmarks; the smells; the schools mentioned; the lovely people of all hues;... Read morePublished 12 days ago by Joe Koot
This novel offers a well drawn picture of daily life in Zimbabwe, whilst also being a moving and interesting story. Read morePublished 4 months ago by BookWorm
I loaded this on my kindle for a trip through Southern Africa and really enjoyed reading it. It's very contemporary and opens the door on life in urban Zimbabwe, its corruption... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Marian
It was an amazing read. I couldn't put it down. At first I just got a sample of Amazon but immediately purchased the whole book. I loved the storyline and it was easy to read. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Crystal Oma
Great book! Hilariously funny with a beautiful nostalgia evoking nature.Published 8 months ago by Matilda Sekai
Many years ago I trained to be a hairdresser, that is what inspired me to read This short novel. I wanted to read this even more as it is set Zimbabwe, which I thought was a really... Read morePublished 10 months ago by ireadnovels
i dont believe in rewriting a story and calling it a review or rubbish like ' beware spoilers' 😕
Funny in places. Light reading. Became serious towards the end. Read more
Not many african authors discuss the topic of sexuality as subtly as this.... Great characters, just wish the plot wasn't quite as predictable.Published 14 months ago by lilly