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As Zimbabwe emerges into independence, Tambudzai Sigauke embarks on her second year at the Young Ladies’ College of the Sacred Heart. Determined to excel, Tambu exhausts herself with her efforts to climb to the top of the school’s honour rolls. The further she pushes herself, however, the farther she feels from any reward; and the roots of colonialism threaten to trip her at every step. The sequel to Nervous Conditions is as moving, darkly witty, and riveting as its predecessor.
The whole novel is an examination of Tambu's increasingly warped perspective, achieved through a focused, almost claustrophobic first-person point of view and a masterly deployment of flashbacks. We inhabit Tambu's mind so totally that we often have to pull back to remind ourselves that this is not reality, but the world as Tambu sees it.
From these novels we not only learnt of but lived through [Tambu's] formative years: being sidelined in favour of her brother; her reaction to his death; and the violence she experienced at school.
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