This book was highly recommended to me several years ago. It was described as hilarious. It’s a collection of short stories by a Zimbabwean author, Pettina Gappah, each highlighting a character struggling to survive Robert Mugabe’s regime of spiraling inflation, failed promises, political corruption and instability.
I wouldn’t call it hilarious. It is very clever though. Clever. Sad. Painful. Poignant. And yes, there is humour, one that makes you shake your head in disbelief and lament for what could have been or what was once reality. It speaks to human experiences. To shared aspirations, hopes, and anxieties. From wives of men who can’t trust their husbands for fear of AIDS, to a barren woman who desperately wants a baby, to a law student who tries to kill herself when dumped, to a diplomat on posting in Geneva who is new to email and consequently duped by a 411 operation, each story might as well be true. It’s an unapologetic description of life in Zimbabwe for many people today.
I certainly would recommend the book. Pettina Gappah is a wonderful storyteller and that’s not even her main job. In fact she’s a lawyer in international trade. Oh how I envy these multi-talented and smart African women.