The Hairdresser of Harare by Tendai HuchuIn this delicious and devastating first novel, which The Guardian named one of its ten best contemporary African books, Caine Prize finalist Tendai Huchu (The Maestro, the Magistrate, and the Mathematician) portrays the heart of contemporary Zimbabwean society with humor and grace.
Vimbai is the best hairdresser in Mrs. Khumalo’s salon, and she is secure in her status until the handsome, smooth-talking Dumisani shows up one day for work. Despite her resistance, the two become friends, and eventually, Vimbai becomes Dumisani’s landlady. He is as charming as he is deft with the scissors, and Vimbai finds that he means more and more to her. Yet, by novel’s end, the pair’s deepening friendship—used or embraced by Dumisani and Vimbai with different futures in mind—collapses in unexpected brutality.
The novel is an acute portrayal of a rapidly changing Zimbabwe. In addition to Vimbai and Dumisani’s personal development, the book shows us how social concerns shape the lives of everyday people.
The Hairdresser of Harare
Its six tenants include a failed priest, a naturalist, a neurosurgeon and an invalid dreaming of his anxious boyhood. At times he shares their preoccupations and memories. He will also share their fate. In Night of Fire the passions and obsessions of these unquiet lives reach beyond the dying house that holds them. Ranging from an African refugee camp to the cremation-grounds of India, their memories mutate and criss-cross in a novel of lingering beauty and mystery.
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