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Comment: 1997, Oxford University press, Cape Town, 12mo., 212pp., a little creasing on first few pages, 2 other pages creased, else very good, wrappers.
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Ways of Dying: Gr 8 - 12 (Southern African Writing) Paperback – 24 Jun 1997

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Southern Africa (24 Jun. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195714989
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195714982
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 12.5 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,857,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"ÝA¨ marvelous picaresque . . . Mda's purpose comes through clearly: to show how many ways of dying there are in the transition to a new South Africa, whether through the brutality of white overseers and policemen or that of black gangsters . . . Reflecting the startling contrasts in such a world, tender humor and brutal violence vie with each other in Mda's pages, as do vibrant life and sudden death. The struggle between them creates an energetic and refreshing literature for a country still coming to terms with both the new and the old."--Tony Eprile, "The New York Times Book Review"
"Mda possesses the lyricism of a storyteller . . . He draws his readers into an Africa where racial hatred and its accompanying violence are commonplace. As a result, the act of mourning is almost a constant state."--Seth Taylor, San Diego State University," The San Diego Union-Tribune"
"In two quiet, subtle and powerful novels Ý"Ways of Dying "and "Heart of Redness"¨, we are taken from the brutal, nearly unbearable horror of life during the revolution against white minority rule to the daily, nearly unbearable hopelessness of life under the cronyism, corruption and injustice of the post-apartheid government. That this universe is not just depressing but also enlightening is due to the enormous talent behind Mda's vision."--Neil Gordon, "The Washington Post Book World"
"A rollicking, at times whimsical tour through the dying days of apartheid as witnessed by the Professional Mourner Toloki, who wanders from township funeral to township funeral with the hapless wonder of a Chaplinesque loner."--Anderson Tepper, "The Village Voice"
"Ultimately, this emotionally rich novel dares to seekredemption amid desolation. In these devastated lives, Mda finds grace, tenderness, even the kind of world-weary humor that is born of hardship."--Rene E. Graham, "The Boston Globe"
"A strange and terrifying account of the realities of the new South Africa told with irony, humor, and originality."--Sheila Kohler, author of "Children of Pithiviers"
"Once you have finished "Ways of Dying," you won't know whether you read the novel or dreamt it. Zakes Mda has gathered up all the human waste and political detritus of South African life and distilled it into a magic realist text of great beauty, humor, pathos."--"The Sunday Independent "(South Africa)
"A flawless, intricate, seamless weave, with magic and mystery . . . Mda is a master storyteller."--Sindiwe Magona
"The future is not far when Mda could come to be recognized as South Africa's leading literary figure . . . "Ways of Dying" can be read as an allegory for the contemporary life of Africans. Yet despite its depressing title . . . the book ends up not being being about many ways of dying but many ways of living."--"Sowetan" (South African)
"An excellent novel."--Tim Couzens
"Creates a vivid, bustling image of contemporary Africa in transition."--"Kirkus Reviews"
"A moving and startlingly original novel."--"Mail & Guardian" (South Africa)


"[A] marvelous picaresque . . . Mda's purpose comes through clearly: to show how many ways of dying there are in the transition to a new South Africa, whether through the brutality of white overseers and policemen or that of black gangsters . . . Reflecting the startling contrasts in such a world, tender humor and brutal violence vie with each other in Mda's pages, as do vibrant life and sudden death. The struggle between them creates an energetic and refreshing literature for a country still coming to terms with both the new and the old."--Tony Eprile, "The New York Times Book Review"
"Mda possesses the lyricism of a storyteller . . . He draws his readers into an Africa where racial hatred and its accompanying violence are commonplace. As a result, the act of mourning is almost a constant state."--Seth Taylor, San Diego State University, " The San Diego Union-Tribune"
"In two quiet, subtle and powerful novels ["Ways of Dying "and "Heart of Redness"], we are taken from the brutal, nearly unbearable horror of life during the revolution against white minority rule to the daily, nearly unbearable hopelessness of life under the cronyism, corruption and injustice of the post-apartheid government. That this universe is not just depressing but also enlightening is due to the enormous talent behind Mda's vision."--Neil Gordon, "The Washington Post Book World"
"A rollicking, at times whimsical tour through the dying days of apartheid as witnessed by the Professional Mourner Toloki, who wanders from township funeral to township funeral with the hapless wonder of a Chaplinesque loner."--Anderson Tepper, "The Village Voice"
"Ultimately, this emotionally rich novel dares to seek redemption amid desolation. In these devastated lives, Mda finds grace, tenderness, even the kind of world-weary humor that is born of hardship."--Rene E. Graham, "The Boston Globe"
"A strange and terrifying account of the realities of the new South Africa told with irony, humor, and originality."--Sheila Kohler, author of "Children of Pithiviers"
"Once you have finished "Ways of Dying, " you won't know whether you read the novel or dreamt it. Zakes Mda has gathered up all the human waste and political detritus of South African life and distilled it into a magic realist text of great beauty, humor, pathos."--"The Sunday Independent "(South Africa)
"A flawless, intricate, seamless weave, with magic and mystery . . . Mda is a master storyteller."--Sindiwe Magona
"The future is not far when Mda could come to be recognized as South Africa's leading literary figure . . . "Ways of Dying" can be read as an allegory for the contemporary life of Africans. Yet despite its depressing title . . . the book ends up not being being about many ways of dying but many ways of living."--"Sowetan" (South African)
"An excellent novel."--Tim Couzens
"Creates a vivid, bustling image of contemporary Africa in transition."--"Kirkus Reviews"
"A moving and startlingly original novel."--"Mail & Guardian" (South Africa)


[A] marvelous picaresque . . . Mda's purpose comes through clearly: to show how many ways of dying there are in the transition to a new South Africa, whether through the brutality of white overseers and policemen or that of black gangsters . . . Reflecting the startling contrasts in such a world, tender humor and brutal violence vie with each other in Mda's pages, as do vibrant life and sudden death. The struggle between them creates an energetic and refreshing literature for a country still coming to terms with both the new and the old. "Tony Eprile, The New York Times Book Review"

Mda possesses the lyricism of a storyteller . . . He draws his readers into an Africa where racial hatred and its accompanying violence are commonplace. As a result, the act of mourning is almost a constant state. "Seth Taylor, San Diego State University, The San Diego Union-Tribune"

In two quiet, subtle and powerful novels ["Ways of Dying "and "Heart of Redness"], we are taken from the brutal, nearly unbearable horror of life during the revolution against white minority rule to the daily, nearly unbearable hopelessness of life under the cronyism, corruption and injustice of the post-apartheid government. That this universe is not just depressing but also enlightening is due to the enormous talent behind Mda's vision. "Neil Gordon, The Washington Post Book World"

A rollicking, at times whimsical tour through the dying days of apartheid as witnessed by the Professional Mourner Toloki, who wanders from township funeral to township funeral with the hapless wonder of a Chaplinesque loner. "Anderson Tepper, The Village Voice"

Ultimately, this emotionally rich novel dares to seek redemption amid desolation. In these devastated lives, Mda finds grace, tenderness, even the kind of world-weary humor that is born of hardship. "Rene E. Graham, The Boston Globe"

A strange and terrifying account of the realities of the new South Africa told with irony, humor, and originality. "Sheila Kohler, author of Children of Pithiviers"

Once you have finished "Ways of Dying, " you won't know whether you read the novel or dreamt it. Zakes Mda has gathered up all the human waste and political detritus of South African life and distilled it into a magic realist text of great beauty, humor, pathos. "The Sunday Independent (South Africa)"

A flawless, intricate, seamless weave, with magic and mystery . . . Mda is a master storyteller. "Sindiwe Magona"

The future is not far when Mda could come to be recognized as South Africa's leading literary figure . . . "Ways of Dying" can be read as an allegory for the contemporary life of Africans. Yet despite its depressing title . . . the book ends up not being being about many ways of dying but many ways of living. "Sowetan (South African)"

An excellent novel. "Tim Couzens"

Creates a vivid, bustling image of contemporary Africa in transition. "Kirkus Reviews"

A moving and startlingly original novel. "Mail & Guardian (South Africa)""

[A] marvelous picaresque . . . Mda's purpose comes through clearly: to show how many ways of dying there are in the transition to a new South Africa, whether through the brutality of white overseers and policemen or that of black gangsters . . . Reflecting the startling contrasts in such a world, tender humor and brutal violence vie with each other in Mda's pages, as do vibrant life and sudden death. The struggle between them creates an energetic and refreshing literature for a country still coming to terms with both the new and the old. Tony Eprile, The New York Times Book Review

Mda possesses the lyricism of a storyteller . . . He draws his readers into an Africa where racial hatred and its accompanying violence are commonplace. As a result, the act of mourning is almost a constant state. Seth Taylor, San Diego State University, The San Diego Union-Tribune

In two quiet, subtle and powerful novels [Ways of Dying and Heart of Redness], we are taken from the brutal, nearly unbearable horror of life during the revolution against white minority rule to the daily, nearly unbearable hopelessness of life under the cronyism, corruption and injustice of the post-apartheid government. That this universe is not just depressing but also enlightening is due to the enormous talent behind Mda's vision. Neil Gordon, The Washington Post Book World

A rollicking, at times whimsical tour through the dying days of apartheid as witnessed by the Professional Mourner Toloki, who wanders from township funeral to township funeral with the hapless wonder of a Chaplinesque loner. Anderson Tepper, The Village Voice

Ultimately, this emotionally rich novel dares to seek redemption amid desolation. In these devastated lives, Mda finds grace, tenderness, even the kind of world-weary humor that is born of hardship. Rene E. Graham, The Boston Globe

A strange and terrifying account of the realities of the new South Africa told with irony, humor, and originality. Sheila Kohler, author of Children of Pithiviers

Once you have finished Ways of Dying, you won't know whether you read the novel or dreamt it. Zakes Mda has gathered up all the human waste and political detritus of South African life and distilled it into a magic realist text of great beauty, humor, pathos. The Sunday Independent (South Africa)

A flawless, intricate, seamless weave, with magic and mystery . . . Mda is a master storyteller. Sindiwe Magona

The future is not far when Mda could come to be recognized as South Africa's leading literary figure . . . Ways of Dying can be read as an allegory for the contemporary life of Africans. Yet despite its depressing title . . . the book ends up not being being about many ways of dying but many ways of living. Sowetan (South African)

An excellent novel. Tim Couzens

Creates a vivid, bustling image of contemporary Africa in transition. Kirkus Reviews

A moving and startlingly original novel. Mail & Guardian (South Africa)

" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

About the Author: Zakes Mda is Visiting Professor in the School of Dramatic Art at the University of Witwatersrand. He was previously Visiting Professor at the University of Vermont and Full Professor at the University of Lesotho. He held a research fellowship at Yale, was the winner of a Fulbright-Hayes fellowship, and was Amstel Playwright of the Year in 1979. His books include She Plays with Darkness, When People Play People, Four Works, and We Shall Sing for the Fatherland and Other Plays. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Format: Paperback
This is an extraordinary book. The central characters are compelling, and the Cape atmosphere is stunningly evocative. It is a book written with great love. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about it is how tragic events and circumstances are lifted by humour and affection, so that one is left rejoicing rather than depressed. Read it, for its own sake, and to gain a more real picture of South Africa in dark times than any work of non-fiction can give.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A love story amidst grass-roots Apartheid 7 Aug. 2013
By Sam LaFoy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was a beautiful book in an ugly scene. The writing had a folk or mythological tone which only added to its attractions. The second reading only confirmed why the first time I had read it stayed with me and haunted me for years. Highly recommended.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At last a new African writer! And he's good! Yay! 13 Jan. 2003
By artemis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am an avid reader of African literature, both fiction and non-fiction (especially memoirs). I am always searching for contemporary non-white writers (the white writers are good, but it is not unreasonable to want other perspectives), so I was happy to learn about Zakes Mda from a recent New York Times book review column, and I ordered his two books immediately.
'Ways of Dying' is not about post-apartheid South Africa, though the blurb suggests that. I estimate it to be set in the late 1980s, shortly before the end of the old regime was drawing near.
It's a short book, but it's well written, and paints a vivid picture of life in South Africa. And yes, the 'black perspective' is different, and very interesting, and most welcome.
4.0 out of 5 stars Well said Mba 5 Jun. 2013
By Adedamola Fashokun - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mad wrote a spacious encounter of apartheid rule in south Africa. The novel draws readers in a pragmatic method revealing the jovial yet saddening reality of oppression. A must read !
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book! 25 May 2014
By Pedro A. Penha Brasil - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great read! One of the most original novels I've read, be that in its content or in its form. Mda is a real master!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sort of boring 14 Jun. 2013
By SP - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
But, it does convey the difficulties of the characters. I thought it would be more descriptive of Africa as a whole, but instead it is all about the 2 main characters, who are just not that interesting to me.
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