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The First Wife: A Tale of Polygamy by [Chiziane, Paulina]
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The First Wife: A Tale of Polygamy Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Length: 250 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Age Level: 8 - 12 Grade Level: 3 - 7

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Review

"In the style that characterises her writing, the novel pulls no punches, and the polemic it constructs is passionate and engaging. "The First Wife" is alive with intrigue and happenings...It is this sense of strength, of resilience, of passion, and simultaneously of acceptance, of resignation that both excite and irritate that make Niketche such an enjoyable and provocative read." -- Tony Simoes da Silva, "African Review of Books"
..". the narrator expreses the suffering of all women, divided between the desire to live and what appears to be an inner death (...) condemned to lose all her battles and to drift in the shadows." -- Genevieve Vilner, "Plural-Pluriel"
..". the theme also allows her to lead the reader to discover a country and its customs, and to create some magnificent depictions of women." -- Olivia Marsaud, "Afrik.com"
"What we have, in Paulina, is the most authentic representation of the problems faced by women in Mozambican society." --Teresa Noronha, "Jornal de Noticias""

"This novel by Chiziane, the first published Mozambiquan female novelist, is daring, biting in its critique." " Kirkus Reviews"
"Acareful examination of tradition clashing with modernity, most prevalently the place of women within Mozambique s society, and within the world in general. . . Slowly, painfully, as tradition looms in the background, Rami and the other women in Tony s life begin to discover a space for themselves and what it can mean to be more than a part of a loving hexagon. " " Publishers Weekly"
"Chiziane has crafted a story that is at once an affirmation of African feminism and a rousingly entertaining tale of female friendship that would please any fan of best-selling women s fiction... Both informed reading and terrific fun for a wide range of readers."" Library Journal"(starred review)
"In the style that characterises her writing, the novel pulls no punches, and the polemic it constructs is passionate and engaging. "The First Wife" is alive with intrigue and happenings...It is this sense of strength, of resilience, of passion, and simultaneously of acceptance, of resignation that both excite and irritate that make Niketche such an enjoyable and provocative read." -- Tony Simoes da Silva, "African Review of Books"
..". the narrator expreses the suffering of all women, divided between the desire to live and what appears to be an inner death (...) condemned to lose all her battles and to drift in the shadows." -- Genevieve Vilner, "Plural-Pluriel"
..". the theme also allows her to lead the reader to discover a country and its customs, and to create some magnificent depictions of women." -- Olivia Marsaud, "Afrik.com"
"What we have, in Paulina, is the most authentic representation of the problems faced by women in Mozambican society." --Teresa Noronha, "Jornal de Noticias""

"Rami's realistic, back-and-forth struggle to believe the promises of her lying but charming husband remains suspensefully unresolved right up to the last page and the final surprise. Chiziane's down-to-earth style in The First Wife is that of an African storyteller, sometimes rhythmical and repetitive, frequently composed of short, staccato sentences in an exclamatory rush.... Feisty and exuberant, ferociously candid... With delightful complications and unexpected plot turns, Chiziane's battle of the sexes is like none other in world literature." -- Shelf Awareness

"This novel by Chiziane, the first published Mozambiquan female novelist, is daring, biting in its critique." -- Kirkus Reviews

"A careful examination of tradition clashing with modernity, most prevalently the place of women within Mozambique's society, and within the world in general. . . Slowly, painfully, as tradition looms in the background, Rami and the other women in Tony's life begin to discover a space for themselves and what it can mean to be more than a part of a "loving hexagon."" -- Publishers Weekly

"Chiziane has crafted a story that is at once an affirmation of African feminism and a rousingly entertaining tale of female friendship that would please any fan of best-selling women's fiction... Both informed reading and terrific fun for a wide range of readers." -- Library Journal (starred review)


"The First Wife is a meditation on polygamy and the ways women gain and lose agency in both monogamous and polygamous households...This novel prizes community over solitude among women. The First Wife acknowledges that the reader may not know the nuances of bride price, polygamy, and other specific cultural practices and explains them without being too disruptive to the reader's experience, and the reader leaves with a deeper understanding of one woman's experiences after living in two different marriage models." -- World Literature Today

"This is a powerful and angry book... The writing is urgent and surprising... a work of great imagination and creativity." -- A Year of Reading the World

"Chiziane explores the economics of love and marriage in a country burdened with a history of violent conflict, where men are few and women not necessarily educated or welcomed into the workforce. In such a society, she says, men are the breadcrumbs women must fight over.[...] For better or for worse, so many of the questions about gender, marriage, and money feel familiar and relevant, even to readers for whom polygamy feels profoundly foreign." -- Carolyn Silveira, Words Without Borders

"In the end, The First Wife, rather than going easy on men, amounts to a sustained critique of them. And Chiziane proves herself to be an acute and occasionally outraged observer of the male place in Mozambican society." -- John Vanderslice, The Pleiades Book Review

"The style of writing in the novel feels like an oral tradition. There are repeated phrases, metaphors, similes - often in patterns. I could hear it in my mind the way a mother might pass on the words to her daughter, to prepare her, to warn her." -- Jenny Colvin, Reading Envy

"The First Wife, smoothly translated by David Brookshaw, rises above its satire by confronting a mysogynistic practice head on ... Chiziane, who prefers to be called a storyteller instead of a writer, is cited as her country's first published female novelist ... The First Wife [is] an excellent example of her courage." -- Michael Barron, The Culture Trip

"[Paulina Chiziane] is a storyteller, deeply rooted in the soil of her tradition, with a clarity and poetry that has character, strong colours, subtle hues and melodies without being ethnic or local... Chiziane has an elegantly mature authorial voice, a beautifully balanced lyricism and an unfailing sense of imagery and human emotion. Hers is a voice comfortable with its timbre and the flexions of its tonality, aware of the difficulty - and dire necessity - for simplicity... The First Wife is a voice that will not be silenced, it is a powerful, original experience of what it meant to listen to a story by the fire - frightening, enthralling, harrowing and wondrous, mystical, inescapable." -- Bookanista

"A lively, engaging read." -- The Complete Review

"This is a powerful and angry book. . . Yet, for all its fury, the narrative is underpinned by an appreciation of the interconnectedness of the human experience. . . The writing is urgent and surprising." -- A Year of Reading the World (blog)

"In the style that characterises her writing, the novel pulls no punches, and the polemic it constructs is passionate and engaging. The First Wife is alive with intrigue and happenings...It is this sense of strength, of resilience, of passion, and simultaneously of acceptance, of resignation that both excite and irritate that make Niketche such an enjoyable and provocative read." -- Tony Simoes da Silva, African Review of Books

..". the narrator expreses the suffering of all women, divided between the desire to live and what appears to be an inner death (...) condemned to lose all her battles and to drift in the shadows." -- Genevieve Vilner, Plural-Pluriel

..". the theme also allows her to lead the reader to discover a country and its customs, and to create some magnificent depictions of women." -- Olivia Marsaud, Afrik.com

"What we have, in Paulina, is the most authentic representation of the problems faced by women in Mozambican society." --Teresa Noronha, Jornal de Noticias

About the Author

PAULINA CHIZIANE was born in an area of Mozambique in 1955 in which communication with the white colonizers was forbidden. She devoted herself to writing in her mid-twenties and became the first Mozambican woman ever to publish a novel. She claims, however, that she is not a novelist: "I am a storyteller... I take my inspiration from tales around the campfire, my first art school." Her works explore themes of race, polygamy, colonization, and cultural change in her country, quietly signaling a new era for African feminism.

ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR: DAVID BROOKSHAW is a London-born professor of Brazilian Studies at the University of Bristol specializing in comparative literature, translation, and postcolonial Portuguese literature. He has translated works by Mia Cuoto and Onesimo Almeida and compiled an anthology of stories by the Portuguese author Jose Rodrigues Migueis.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2762 KB
  • Print Length: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Archipelago (9 Aug. 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B015MA7RF8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #823,633 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

By Amanda Jenkinson TOP 500 REVIEWER on 18 Nov. 2016
Format: Paperback
This is quite a remarkable book, passionate, lyrical, intense and deeply illuminating about Mozambican society and the position of women within it. The very intensity of the prose makes it quite a challenging read, especially as it is also repetitious and unrelenting, but any criticisms I might have of it as a novel are outweighed by its intrinsic worth as a work from an African writer opening up her country to a wider international readership. The plot, such as it is, is essentially a simple one. Rami discovers that her much-loved husband Tony is unfaithful to her. Her approach to this universal situation is a particular one – she forces him to marry his other women. How she gets his other lovers to go along with her, and the reasons she proffers for polygamy, make for some fascinating and thought-provoking reading. Polygamy, post-colonial society, prejudice within Mozambican society, the position of women, tradition versus modernity, sexual practices within the society and the legacy of Christianity – all these are explored as the novel progresses. Paulina Chiziane is the first woman from Mozambique to be published (an interesting fact in itself) and is considered one of the country's most important writers. Little known in the West, this novel will no doubt bring her to a much wider readership, certainly something she deserves, and if at times this particular novel is heavy going, it’s worth sticking with for the insight into Mozambique that it gives.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A fantastic and important book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully narrated story by "the first wife" 17 May 2017
By ogbeni_jide - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wonderfully narrated story by "the first wife".
Although set in MOzambique, large parts of the story could have been from anywhere in Black Africa; the Funeral Rites for Widows, the "Vulture" practice of the Man's family in stripping assets the moment their "brother" dies, factors which push some women into polygamous relationships.
Very Captivating. It was difficult to stop reading once I started
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Translated Novel from Mozambique 12 Oct. 2016
By Maxmillian jr - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Highly underrated book. The writing was fantastic; the author and translator made a great team. This is set in Mozambique culture but goes over many of the same feminist issues we face in the west. The cultural norms are just different. An exhilarating read.
5.0 out of 5 stars My new favorite book. I would recommend this to any woman 5 Jan. 2017
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My new favorite book. I would recommend this to any woman. It's a beautiful read that questions polygamy from the cultural, feminist, and post-colonial perspective.
4.0 out of 5 stars You'll be surprised at the subtleties of this version of polygamy, and feel hopeful at the resourcefulness of women. 4 May 2017
By Susan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Fantastic read. Certainly shows another culture with its subcultures, conflicts, growing pains, and resourceful strong women.
Now and then it bogged down a bit for me, but was intrigued and found it well worth continuing on.
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