100-day Book ClubOpinion and Analysis

NoViolet Bulawayo’s New Novel Is An Instant Zimbabwean Classic

Glory – where animals take on human characteristics Tinashe Mushakavanhu In Zimbabwean author NoViolet Bulawayo’s new novel Glory – longlisted for the Booker Prize 2022 – animals take on human characteristics. Through this she explores what happens when an authoritarian regime implodes, using characters who are horses, pigs, dogs, cows, cats, chickens, crocodiles, birds and butterflies. Bulawayo’s celebrated first novel, We Need New Names, was a coming-of-age story about the escapades of a Zimbabwean girl named Darling who ends up living in America. Its hallmarks are accentuated in this new work: the troubled real world of class struggles, psychological dualities, colonial and postcolonial histories, war and the dog-eat-dog politics of contemporary Africa. Glory is set in a kingdom called Jidada, which could be Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, Idi Amin’s Uganda, Hastings Banda’s Malawi, Mobutu Sese Seko’s Zaire, Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zimbabwe or any other authoritarian regime in Africa, for there are many. The tropes Bulawayo makes fun of are so recognisable and familiar. Perhaps as memorable as the names in her first novel (Bastard, Godknows) are those of these animal characters (Comrade Nevermiss Nzinga, General Judas Goodness Reza). There is also a Father of the Nation, Sisters of the Disappeared and

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