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Description de l’éditeur
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2020 BOOKER PRIZE
A searing novel about the obstacles facing women in Zimbabwe, by one of the country’s most notable authors
Anxious about her prospects after leaving a stagnant job, Tambudzai finds herself living in a run-down youth hostel in downtown Harare. For reasons that include her grim financial prospects and her age, she moves to a widow’s boarding house and eventually finds work as a biology teacher. But at every turn in her attempt to make a life for herself, she is faced with a fresh humiliation, until the painful contrast between the future she imagined and her daily reality ultimately drives her to a breaking point.
In This Mournable Body, Tsitsi Dangarembga returns to the protagonist of her acclaimed first novel, Nervous Conditions, to examine how the hope and potential of a young girl and a fledgling nation can sour over time and become a bitter and floundering struggle for survival. As a last resort, Tambudzai takes an ecotourism job that forces her to return to her parents’ impoverished homestead. It is this homecoming, in Dangarembga’s tense and psychologically charged novel, that culminates in an act of betrayal, revealing just how toxic the combination of colonialism and capitalism can be.
Set in Zimbabwe at the end of the 20th century, Dangarembga's heartbreaking and piercing latest follows Tambudzai the protagonist of her novel Nervous Conditions as she wearily approaches middle age. After leaving an unfulfilling job at an advertising agency, Tambudzai finds herself living in a Harare youth hostel. She moves from position to position and home to home after leaving the hostel ("Concerned not to let your newest opportunity float away, you are constantly on the lookout for handholds, like low-lying branches above a raging river, which you can grasp first to balance yourself and, subsequently, to heave yourself upward"), alternating between pridefulness and woeful self-hatred eventually taking a job teaching biology at a girls' school that requires no specific training and fantasizing about the life she'll someday lead. When her former boss from the advertising agency offers her a position at a glamorous new ecotourism venture, Tambudzai leaps at the opportunity, not realizing how low she will be asked to sink, turning her rural background and her national culture into photo opportunities for European visitors. Tambudzai is an outstanding and memorable character; her struggles always feel real, even with the use of a second-person point of view. This is a smartly told novel of hard-earned bitterness and disillusionment.