Learn more Download now Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle New Album - Tom Chaplin Learn more Shop Women's Shop Men's



on 16 January 2013
I've recently developed a love for post-colonial texts, and had to read this as part of my lit course at university. It was one of the few novels I actually completely read, (rather than abandon halfway and rely on wiki to finish). As someone who sometimes finds it difficult to really 'get into' a book, I was surprised by how quickly I was hooked. I cannot recommend it enough.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 24 December 2010
This is the first novel written by Tsitsi Dangarembga and it won The Commonwealth Writers' Prize. According to wikipedia it was the first novel written in English by a black Zimbabwean woman.

The novel is partly auto-biographical in nature. The story is set in Zimbabwe and told from the perspective of a young Shona girl, Tambudzai (Tambu). Tambu lives with her parents on their small homestead but when her only brother dies she is sent to live with her wealthy uncle to become educated so that she can support her family.

Throughout the book, Tambu longs to be educated like her uncle Babamukuru. Babamukuru is the hero of the family, providing the goat and other food for them to eat at Christmas, providing school fees for her brother and taking responsibility for any family decisions which have to be made. However, when Tambu goes to live with her uncle we start to see his flaws, how he struggles to control his own daughter, Nyasha, who grow up in England and is struggling to adjust to the different culture of Zimbabwe, how he works too hard and is often very stressed and how is wife, who is viewed with envy by the other women of the family is actually quite unhappy and frustrated.

Tambu's father is a lazy man who will say the right thing in front of her uncle but do nothing about it when her uncle is absent. Her mother has become ground down with weariness following the death of her brother and all the work she does on the farm. Tambu's father appears to do nothing.

Nyasha, Tambu's cousin, struggles to adapt to Zimbabwean Shona culture. She has seen a different way of living in England and doesn't see why she should revert back to the traditional Shona ways of (to her) mindless obedience to her father.

Maiguru, Tambu's aunt, studied for a higher degree in England. But now she is back in Zimbabwe, she is expected to take care of all the cooking and cleaning at family gatherings.

And Tambu copes by outwardly being diligent and respectful to her uncle, the perfect young lady.

In many ways, this book was an uncomfortable read because I felt very strongly the unfairness of the situations the women in the novel found themselves in. It also felt like the book ends very suddenly. There is a sequel which I really want to read to find out what happens.
11 Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 August 2015
a really amazing book - i learned a lot from it. I was going to Zimbabwe and wanted to read a 'classic' from that country before i went - I found echo's of Dangarembga's voice sounding clear all these years on. But also good for people growing up anywhere and for people who love them.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 February 2013
This book re-introduced me to African Feminist literature, though it is so much more than that. Incredibly introspective, incredibly honest, and so relevant even today.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 November 2013
A thought provoking book that touches on issues around gender, colonialism, race and culture. A must read for anyone seeking a good read that provokes contemplation
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 13 June 2013
Very interesting to contrast Western, European attitudes with African ideas. One is unprepared for the differences in attitude towards weight for example.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 1 November 2015
A classic novel on growing up a woman during the changing period in Zimbabwe from colonial rule to independence. Dangarembga is a master story teller.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 31 July 2014
Well this was a gift which I bought for my friends daughter and I'm not sure what review to offer. Amazon should set up an option to account for that.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 February 2017
Great book, thought provoking. It invoked a lot of memories of myself growing up in Zimbabwe, education of the woman and African family dynamics
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 September 2013
Written in a very understated fashion. Makes it even more effective. Shame she did not write more novels, as she clearly has talent.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse