The Hairdresser of Harare

The Hairdresser of Harare

eBook - 2010
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Like very good dark chocolate this is a delicious novel, with a bitter-sweet flavour. Vimbai is a hairdresser, the best in Mrs. Khumalo's salon, and she knows she is the queen on whom they all depend. Her situation is reversed when the good-looking, smooth-talking Dumisani joins them. However, his charm and desire to please slowly erode Vimbai's rancour and when he needs somewhere to live, Vimbai becomes his landlady. So, when Dumisani needs someone to accompany him to his brother's wedding to help smooth over a family upset, Vimbai obliges. Startled to find that this smart hairdresser is the scion of one of the wealthiest families in Harare, she is equally surprised by the warmth of their welcome; and it is their subsequent generosity which appears to foster the relationship between the two young people. The ambiguity of this deepening friendship—used or embraced by Dumisani and Vimbai with different futures in mind—collapses in unexpected brutality when secrets and jealousies are exposed. Written with delightful humour and a penetrating eye, The Hairdresser of Harare is a novel that you will find hard to put down.
Publisher: Harare : Weaver Press, 2010
ISBN: 9781779221537
Characteristics: 1 online resource (v, 189 pages)


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Aug 23, 2017

A comedy of manners, this book tells a straightforward story but gives some idea of Zimbabwe - very corrupt, anti-gay, poor.

LPL_KateG Mar 01, 2016

Tendai Huchu writes with a sparse style that still manages to convey a lot of emotion. I found the storyline to be fairly predictable, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Zimbabwe is portrayed with a keen eye to detail; the place is definitely a character in this story.

Jan 02, 2016

Sometimes non-fiction just doesn’t carry the emotion of history. This story of contemporary Zimbabe under Robert Mugabe does a much better job showing the challenges of living under the rule of a crazy man, particularly if you are a gay man, the son of a wealthy compatriot of Mugabe. This was compelling reading, recommended reading for anyone interested in African politics.

cvidor Jun 03, 2015

Funny, harrowing, utterly engaging story set in post-independence Harare. Two vulnerable people struggle, fail, and finally succeed, at a huge cost, in understanding each other. The reader sees the appalling effects of Mugabe's disastrous economic policies in one man's hand-written copy of a book about philosophy (he cannot afford the actual book), in the lines for food and basic services, in the blasted out former gardens and parks, and in the tattered, dirty flag hanging limply over a city square. Unmissable if you have any interest in Zimbabwe, and also if you don't.

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