Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Hairdresser of Harare

The Hairdresser of Harare
Tendai Huchu
196 pages
Publisher: African Collective Books Limited
Source: the author

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Vimbai is the best hairdresser in Harare, or so she thinks until Dumisani shows up to fill a vacancy at the salon where she works.  The good looking man soon multiples business, brings in enough money to give the salon a makeover, and even becomes the manager.  Dumisani moves in with Vimbai to save on rent and the two soon bond over similar family circumstances - both have become family outcasts, though for different reasons.  When Vimbai finally learns why Dumisani was shunned by his family, she must come to terms with her own prejudices.

I absolutely loved this book!  There is pure entertainment value in the book, the characters are unique and setting was painted richly by the author.  I also enjoyed the descriptions of the political climate in Zimbabwe, a situation that hasn't been in the news recently.  But it's also something bigger going on here.  The way the author tells the story, it feels so realistic and undoubtedly there have been people in Zimbabwe much like Dumisani who have faced awful discrimination because of who they are.  I think there's a lesson in this book that every American should learn and I truly hope this novel finds the acclaim in the States that it deserves.

I would recommend this book to anyone: to people who know the lesson and to people who need to learn the lesson alike.  Read it and spread the word!

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