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3.9 out of 5 stars15
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 11 September 2009
I loved this book! Sure, the idiosyncratic grammar takes a bit of getting used to, but it's worth persevering. The narrator is well drawn and has a really interesting voice. I was sorry when the book finished. It's very funny but also heart-rending. Highly recommended.
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on 6 July 2009
After the reviews I had read in the broadsheets' literary supplements, I was eagerly awaiting this novel. I am delighted to say that it did not disappoint. Brian Chikwava has created a story that aroused the most varying of emotions in me. It is such a tragic tale but delivered at times in the most comic of manners. I am surprised at the review below; as I thought that the style used by Chikwava was what enabled such a sad tale to be told, at times, with such humour and amusement. In my opinion it was this style that was able to give Harare North the balance of tragedy and comedy that really sets it apart and makes such a delight to read. The protagonist's voice is certainly distinctive, but in a way which reveals not only his being a foreigner in a foreign place but also a sense of simplicity and openness. Anyway, it was a novel that I thoroughly enjoyed and would highly recommend.
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on 17 May 2010
The nameless narrator of this novel may very well be one of the best literary creations to come out of africa in the last decade. He is devious, cruel, funny, intelligent and goofy all at the same time. His use of the language is difficult to get to grips with, "what kind of style is that?", but if you persevere you will find it gets easier and even more hillarious. I highly recommend this book.
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on 7 January 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but I would imagine that if you're not from Zimbabwe it may be difficult to understand a lot of the references. It's written in a very different style but that is in keeping with the story, so it works well
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on 25 February 2013
A very funny book written in pigeon English about a zimbabwean immigrant trying to raise money in London. The language can be a bit tricksy but it is still a very good book once you get into it.
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on 29 June 2009
Harare North I waited for the publication of this novel with great excitement but was disappointed when I read it. First, it was very difficult to read the ungrammatical English the author insisted on using throughout the story. The story unfolds mostly in a stream of consciousness from the protagononist. If he was semi literate, as portrayed, then surely this internal dialogue would have been in Shona (translated into grammatical English by the author since the novel is in English)and not the painful ungrammatical English which noone in real life would use to think when they have their own first language to use to speak to themselves? This is so unrealistic it is quite annoying. Who is Brian writing for anyway because even in Zimbabwe, those who would buy this book are fluent in English and would find it difficult to read this one. Certainly, those learning to be fluent in English would regress after reading it! If he is writing for a non Zimbabwean audience elsewhere, then he has given the wrong impression of the competence of Zimbabweans in the diaspora to use English, in speech or thought, grammatically, which is a false impression as most Zimbabweans are very fluent in English, our national second language. Also, the experiences this Green Bomber goes through, in the diaspora, be they with locals or other Zimbabweans are mostly, if not wholly negative. Is this realistic? There are hardships when living as an illegal immigrant in London, but for most people the experiences are not all bad. There are decent Zimbabweans in London and not every local person is nasty and exploitative. An unrealistic portrayal of life in Harare North for Zimbabweans I must say!
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on 23 February 2011
The book arrived promptly, was very well priced in comparison to what others on my course paid and was in excellent condition. THank you
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on 3 September 2013
No Zimbabwean speaks like that. But I did find it interesting that the main character was so unlikeable and completely justified in his own head.
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on 29 November 2013
This book punched my head back right from the beginning. Cleverly written and rich with imagination. Well worth the time i gave it.
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on 12 March 2010
I have to take issue with some of the reviewers below. Brian Chikwava's achievement in Harare North is extraordinary and the balance on Amazon at the moment in no way reflects its critical reception. The Guardian called it "mesmerising" and "utterly compelling". The Independent called it "arresting, haunting, exciting, funny". Harare North bears comparison with the chimurenga music of Thomas Mapfumo, who, during the independence war of the 1970s, pioneered transposing the traditional mbira music of Zimbabwe onto electric instruments. Chikwava's protagonist too emerges from rural Zimbabwe to collide with the west - in the form both of London and the English language - and it is out of this collision that a voice emerges unlike anything else you'll encounter in literature. Yes, this book can be dark, but its character is a creature of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe. It is also joyous, hilarious and boiling with passion. It will come to be regarded as a classic.
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