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Nervous Conditions Paperback – 1 Oct 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Ayebia Clarke Publishing Ltd; Second edition edition (1 Oct. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0954702336
  • ISBN-13: 978-0954702335
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 12.7 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"This is the novel we have been waiting for...I am sure it will be a classic."

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.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback
"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
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A large extended family of African tribespeople are to be driven by a progressive patriarch towards a more affluent existence. Their future should be full of hope and yet the young people at the cutting edge of this transformation -- born in one world but destined to mature in another -- are falling apart. The only way to truly succeed in their new lives is to move away from the culture into which they were born and, in effect, to embrace the values of the colonialists who are driving their country's progress. For the individual, this means killing off one identity in order to become another, often unrecognisable, person: a form of suicide. This is a phenomenon often experienced in less obvious ways, such as the working class kid who becomes the first from their family to attend university and so the themes of this novel resonate still.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The feminist and colonial themes that underpin this novel have their colours tied to the mast. At times, the characters words sound like speeches, delivered from a platform. While in a way this heavy-handedness seems to me to be a weakness of the novel, as a piece of fiction, it does pack quite a punch.

The characters are beautifully drawn and it's they that keep you turning the pages, because there is little going on in terms of a narrative plotline. From time to time, things move rather too slowly - like when our narrator, Tambu, first arrives at the mission school - but in the main, the gentle unfolding of the plot works because it is populated by such 3-dimensional characters. Although everyone is in some way flawed, the author gives them all their own voice, allowing them the opportunity to explain themselves, their mindset and their actions. Though choosing not to engage with the issue of 1960s Rhodesian apartheid, the author does take a close up look at the impact of race and colonisation at a family level, and indeed at a personal level. This is not the sweeping political tale that a male writer might have told, but racism and sexism on a micro level, shaping and directing the lives of a handful of women and girls.
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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.
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