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Strife

by Shimmer Chinodya

A rich, densely written novel, Strife examines one family’s responses to destiny. Tracing the Gwanagara’s roots back over a century, Chinodya interweaves past and the present, juxtaposing incidents never forgotten or resolved, revealing how memory becomes an actor in lived time.

A large family grows up in Gweru. Their father aspires to be an enlightened Christian man, he sees his children through school and college where they do well. But as adults, they are struck by illness. Who is to blame? Who is to cure these ailments? What wrongs have they committed to offend the ancestors? How can atonement be made? Can education, science and medicine provide any solution? Their mother, the moon huntress, seeks out the answers and the cures in traditional beliefs and customs.

Chinodya provides a dark exposé of the tension between modernity and tradition. He explores the powerful draw that these sometimes conflicting ideologies exercise over an emerging middle class that at once yearns for autonomy and unconsciously desires the irresponsibility of an all-pervading destiny.

Strife is a novel that has to be read by anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Zimbabwean culture in the twenty-first century.

ISBN 9781779222671 | 244 pages | 216 x 140mm | 2014 | Weaver Press, Zimbabwe | Paperback

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"The brilliance of this powerful and haunting story, in notably innovative form, brings a new dimension to African writing. The novelist reverses the traditional relationship between family and nation, concentrating on the social energies in an African family, rather than the individual or the nation. Powerful and haunting, with memorable portraits of individuals, the story is driven by a deep and distinctive sense of the tragic. The novelist’s psychological sensitivity illuminates the dominant themes of disease and death; and the constant tension between the pull of the past and the aspiration of modernity is expressed in a prose that makes everything original and new, recasting old themes."

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