Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Strange Passages To Harare North [Book Review]

A review of the Zimbabwean writer, Brian Chikwava's novel, Passages to Harrare North, by Ikhide Ikheloa. Ikheloa is one of the few reviewers out there who keep African literature alive. Sometimes, though, he sparks controversy here and there. Perhaps rightly so. This particular review has already. Some love it, some hate it, some would even like to punch the reviewer in the, in the, ... where-it-pains-a-man-most. I would like you, dear reader, to read the whole review and judge for yourself. This is how it begins:

"There is this thing called the Caine Prize for African Literature, whatever that means. People compete for it and someone invariably wins. There is a lot of noise making and jollification for a deserved win and the poor winner is expected to write a book. The poor fellow always obliges and dutifully produces a thoroughly wretched book. It hardly ever fails. There have been notable exceptions but one would argue that the writer wrote a good book despite winning the Caine Prize. One such wretched book is Harare North, written by the brilliant, perhaps gifted Brian Chikwava. He is destined to write a good book - once he finds his voice. It is just that right now, his toes are flirting with crickets while Africa is carrying elephants on her head. There are few books that have frustrated me more than Harare North. It is like staring in anger at a rich pot of soup ruined by an impish but talented cook."


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