EverywomanA poetic and beautiful account of the lives of black women in rural Zimbabwe -- birth, life, work, magic, and politics are powerfully interwoven.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyTaylor ( Women: A World Report ) captures the tenor of modern Zimbabwe in her first novel. Girls are raped by white schoolteachers; mothers weakened by childbirth are offered birth control pills by doctors; husbands and fathers consider women prostitutes if they give in to modern medicine, witches if they abide by the superstitions passed down from the elders. Central to the tale is Miriam, a woman ``who could speak with spirits but could not write her own name; who could turn a breech baby in the womb but didn't know the date of her own birthday . . . '' The novel chronicles four generations of women, of whom one is dead and another has not yet been born. Both spirit-voices speak so naturally that their otherworldly aspects are not immediately apparent; though a belief in such voices is presumably traditional within the tribal culture in which this tale is set, American readers might well find it nothing more than a gimmick. Taylor's writing is lyrical throughout, but what begins as a strongly plotted narrative falls apart quickly; too many aspects of the living characters' lives remain unresolved. This book is finally a troubling mesh of fiction and homily. (Dec.)
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