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Shebeen Tales Chenjerai Hove

Shebeen Tales
128 pp paperback

ISBN 978 1 897959 32 9

£7 / $13 / AUS $20


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Throughout southern Africa, shebeens are where jokes are born, news is embellished and exchanged. They are unique vantage points where men go after a day's work, both to escape from the troubled world around them and to observe and comment on it.

In Shebeen Tales, Zimbabwe's leading author offers a view of his country not from the privileged and insulated perspective of a well-heeled visitor, but that of the ordinary person who, with the help of dry wit and illegal beer, pokes fun at the rich and mighty. Struggling against madcap motorists, pompous bureaucrats and the other woes of life in the city, the man in the shebeen sees modern Africa as it really is, not as press releases or tourist brochures would have us believe.

Hove looks straight in the eye of a society suffering from AIDS, drought and economic hardship, but does not succumb to despair. With a wry sense of humour, he celebrates a people who live life to the full, laugh and sing, tell tall tales – whatever is thrown at them. In new pieces written for this edition, he discusses the vexed issue of homosexuality in Zimbabwe and also casts an amused eye at President Mugabe's wedding.

'Beautifully written – a glimpse into a rarely seen African reality'
Weekly Journal

'An intimate – occasionally painful – look at his own land ... his observations about women and their place in Zimbabwean culture are particularly incisive'
Publishers Weekly

'Raw, direct and gutsy: a refreshingly honest account of life in modern Africa'
Margaret Busby

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'The whole is always the sum of its parts, which this slim book strives to capture with a sense of awareness, understanding, love and sadness. What emerges is a book that will provoke, make laugh and sadden in equal measure, those who are wise enough to read it.'
Africa World Review

'... it is lightness of touch which carries his points about the unfulfilled promises of independence far more powerfully than rage or the dour functionality of political language ever can.'
Weekly Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)

'He has certainly rejected the tug toward political précis and the temptation to write blandly.'
World Literature Today

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