ISBN 9780797437449
Pages 376
Dimensions 210 x 148 mm
Published 2009
Publisher amabooks Publishers, Zimbabwe
Format Paperback

This September Sun

by Bryony Rheam

This September Sun won the Best First Book prize at the 2010 Zimbabwe Book Publishers’ Association Awards. The book is a chronicle of the lives of two women, the romantic Evelyn and her granddaughter Ellie.

Growing up in post-Independence Zimbabwe, Ellie yearns for a life beyond the confines of small town Bulawayo, a wish that eventually comes true when she moves to the United Kingdom. However, life there is not all she dreamed it to be, but it is the murder of her grandmother that eventually brings her back home and forces her to face some hard home truths through the unravelling of long-concealed family secrets.

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Reviews

"A beautifully executed story about Ellie’s painful journey of discovery through her family history. The writing in This September Sun, poetic at times, fires a clear warning shot across the bows of world literature to announce that Bryony Rheam has arrived to claim her rightful place."

Christopher Mlalazi, Author

"Set largely in Bulawayo, This September Sun brilliantly evokes the ennui of the pre-Independence settler community who measure out their lives in cups of tea, sundowners, and illicit affairs. When, in 1980, a black government comes into power, Rhodesian complacency crystallises into Zimbabwean angst, and Ellie, the novel’s over-sensitive protagonist, moves uneasily between the two.

In this absorbing debut novel, Bryony Rheam expertly combines the Epistolary, the Bildungsroman, Romance, and Mystery to produce a work worthy of a place in the bibliography of post-colonial writings in Africa."

John Eppel, Author

"This September Sun is a rich addition to the canon of Zimbabwean and world literature. Bryony Rheam’s powerful voice must be accorded a niche in college and university syllabi."

Francis Mungana, The Standard

"While other reviewers will no doubt take issue with her exclusive focus on white Zimbabwean society in September Sun, I would argue that by presenting us with characters from this minority with whom we can empathise as well as criticise, Bryony Rheam takes a bold but necessary step toward exorcising the ghost of Rhodesia from the house of Zimbabwean letters."

James Graham, Warwick Review

"an engaging novel that’s worth reading"

Zimbabwean review.docx.pdf — PDF document, 415Kb
The Zimbabwean

"The novel has strong characterization, and it explores beyond mere genre into the complexity of human existence; it's a work that leaves you thinking."

Emmanuel Sigauke, from Wealth of Ideas

"This September Sun’ is an overwhelmingly interesting narrative with a dual cast on life since independence and life in the Diaspora: the mainstream focus on the new independent Zimbabwe and Ellie’s journey to the United Kingdom. Rheam’s first novel is ambitious in its own right and deserves to be commended. I highly recommend ‘This September Sun’."

"I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've seen me or someone like me represented in the arts, or in media. In fact, as a Zimbabwean in the diaspora, I can't think when I've ever seen me. Until I read THIS SEPTEMBER SUN."

"This September Sun won the Best First Book Award at the 2010 Zimbabwe International Book Fair, and I can see why. Reading novels like this is what makes me love not just African literature, but really literature in general. I can only hope that more people get the chance to read this beautiful story."

"Rheam masterfully crafts a novel that runs back and forth in time, using elements of the first person and epistolary to stitch a work that reads and feels more like a memoir than a conventional novel. This September Sun’s bold narrative successfully focuses on grand events, two wars, and the very small, minutiae of everyday life, four o’clock tea, cross generational relationships between grandmother and granddaughter in a changing world."

Tendai Huchu, author of "The Hairdresser of Harare"

"The story is told in beautiful prose, peppered with old world verse and philosophical musings. Her characters are sometimes funny, foolish, tragic, selfish and downright irritating. All are bound together masterfully in the messy business of living, and searching, adjusting and moving forward."

About the Author

Bryony Rheam

Bryony Rheam was born in Kadoma in 1974 and has lived most of her life in and around Bulawayo. She studied for a BA and an MA in English literature in the UK and then spent a year lecturing in Singapore. She returned to Zimbabwe in 2001 where she taught at Peterhouse and Girls‚ College until her recent move to Ndola, Zambia. She and her partner, John, have two daughters, Sian and Ellie. Bryony was published in Laughing Now (2007), Women Writing Zimbabwe (2008) and Long Time Coming (2008).

Bryony Rheam is interviewed by Emmanuel Sigauke for the Moments in Literature website here