ISBN 9781779222671
Pages 244
Dimensions 216 x 140mm
Published 2014
Publisher Weaver Press, Zimbabwe
Format Paperback

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.

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Review

"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."

Noma Award Citation
About the Author

Shimmer Chinodya

Shimmer Chinodya was born in 1957 in Gweru, the second child in a large, happy family. He studied English Literature and Education at the University of Zimbabwe. After a spell teaching and with curriculum development, he earned an MA in Creative Writing at the Iowa Writers' Workshop (USA). His first novel, Dew in the Morning, was published in 1982. This was followed by Farai's Girls (1984), Child of War (under the pen name B. Chirasha, 1986), Harvest of Thorns (1989), Can We Talk and other stories (1998), Tale of Tamari (2004), Chairman of Fools (2005), Strife (2006), Tindo's Quest (2011), Chioniso and other stories (2012) and Harvest of Thorns Classic: A Play (2016). His work appears in numerous anthologies. He has also written educational texts, training manuals, radio and film scripts, including the script for the feature film, Everyone's Child. He has won many awards for his work, including the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Africa Region) for Harvest of Thorns, a Caine Prize shortlist for Can we Talk and the NOMA award for publishing in Africa for Strife. He has won awards on many occasions from ZIWU, ZBPA and NAMA. He has also received many fellowships abroad and from 1995 to 1997 was Distinguished Dana Professor in Creative Writing and African Literature at the University of St Lawrence in upstate New York.