Laura Gallagher

Trouble in Zimbabwe

The Book of Memory

By Petina Gappah

Faber & Faber 288pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

The Death of Rex Nhongo

By C B George

Quercus Books 320pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

The slender period these two novels cover is that part of Zimbabwean history most known to the Western world: what Petina Gappah calls ‘the invasions’ of white-owned farms. C B George’s titular Rex Nhongo (the nom de guerre of General Solomon Mujuru) was murdered on his ‘reformed’ farm, while the death of Gappah’s character Lloyd (of whose murder Gappah’s protagonist, Memory, is convicted) coincided with the repossessions. It is to the authors’ credit, however, that neither actually dramatises that episode or names Mugabe, who is only ever referred to as ‘the President’.

The Book of Memory is Gappah’s first published novel but it is not a debut work of fiction:

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