Where to Now? Short Stories from Zimbabwe
Edited by: Jane Morris
Reviewed by Rosetta Codling
European Literary Scene Examiner, www.examiner.com
October 6, 2011
Synopsis: This work is a collection of complex, human dramas focusing upon the realities of Zimbabwean and African life. The writer Mzana Mthimkhulu contributes to this collection an intriguing question and excerpt entitled I am an Africa, am I? This African-Cartesian question is not easily answered in this short story. Mark, a colleague of Timothy, the protagonist, raises this question to his friend. Mark’s query resonates throughout the selection. Timothy is a successful man. He adheres to the guidelines in his Western workplace. In doing so, is he betraying something? Tradition vs. Modernity is the conflict…here…and always in Africa.
Blessing Musariri’s contribution entitled Sudden Death is a ‘brief’ about trust and kinship. The hopes and dreams of several women in the story become entwined upon a literal ‘cross’ borne by one man. Was it wrong to place such a burden of trust upon a person? Was it foolish not to assume that repercussions would occur?
The selection The Piano Tuner, by Bryony Rheam, stirs the reader’s imagination. The main character, Leonard Mwale, is a Zambian piano tuner by trade. He goes to luxurious homes and tunes things into shape. Many patrons send a car for him and offer him a free meal in addition to his fee. For, Leonard Mwale is a skillful man. Tragic are the many ailments in the household that he services in this selection.
In summary, there are no ‘nicely constructed’ plots or storylines in this collection. However, the readings will challenge your imagination and your concept of ‘self.’
Critique: This is the best collection of short stories from Jane Morris so far! I did enjoy the stories and the complex plots. The African literary tradition is illustrated and represented well by these writers and stories. This is a collection for every lover of African literature. Educators and sociologists take note and get a copy!