The groundbreaking first novel in Tsitsi Dangarembga’s award-winning trilogy, Nervous Conditions, won the Commonwealth Writers Prize and has been “hailed as one of the 20th century’s most significant works of African literature” (The New York Times). Two decades before Zimbabwe would win independence and ended white minority rule, thirteen-year-old Tambudzai Sigauke embarks on her education. On her shoulders rest the economic hopes of her parents, siblings, and extended family, and within her burns the desire for independence. She yearns to be free of the constraints of her rural village and thinks she’s found her way out when her wealthy uncle offers to sponsor her schooling. But she soon learns that the education she receives at his mission school comes with a price.
“Dangarembga investigates the ironic psychological demands of global capitalism on a country whose citizens have been fractured by that system. Complex and flawed, they are more than symbols . . . Dangarembga treats supreme cruelty with sublime reserve.”—Los Angeles Review of Books
“Dangarembga’s sentences are chromatic, rich and impressively precise with wonderful detail.”—The Guardian (UK)
“Dangarembga is a magpie for evocative detail . . . Dangarembga’s depiction of [Tambu], abject and vulnerable, yet struggling ever onwards, is reminiscent of Jean Rhys at her best.”—The Spectator (UK)
“A great writer . . . She has a wonderful sense of relationships, a wonderful sense of people, a wonderful sense of place. She exposes the oppression, of women in particular, in a manner that I think is beautiful, because you can’t disagree. She is not making heavy weather of this—it is as natural as the grass grows.”—Chinua Achebe
“Tsitsi Dangarembga opened up the idea that a black woman from Zimbabwe could write a book. There’s a whole generation of Zimbabwean women who are so grateful to Tsitsi for being a forerunner.”—Petina Gappah