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Tsitsi Dangarembga Books In Order

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Publication Order of Nervous Conditions Books

Nervous Conditions (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Book of Not (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
This Mournable Body (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Black and Female (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

About Tsitsi Dangarembga
A Zimbabwean author, Tsitsi Dangarembga is well-known for her richly written novels that speak directly to the reader. Outspoken, she’s a creative voice, making a name for herself both nationally and internationally, reaching readers from all over the world. Knowing her audience well, she writes in a manner that is both honest and truthful, creating stories that speak to the wider population on a range of different issues. Hugely gifted, she’s known for not holding back either, really setting herself apart, essentially allowing her work to speak for itself.

Winning awards for her work, many of her novels have gone on to be recognized for their contributions to the field of literature. Her focused approach to writing has really allowed her to become a key writer, saying a great deal, and making her voice heard. Pushing the format in new and interesting directions, she’s always looking for fresh ideas, allowing her work to constantly take on new forms and styles. Setting herself apart from other writers within her field, she’s a singular voice as well, saying precisely what it is that she wants to say.
Dangarembga has an ear for real people as well, with many of her characters and protagonists resonating on a personal and human level. Fully fleshing them out, she manages to bring them to life upon the page, giving them a real sense of vitality in the process. Immersing the reader in her fiction too, she allows them to explore the worlds she creates, losing and learning something about themselves in the process. Continuing to write, she has a lot more planned for the future as well, with a lot more on the horizon, as her career grows from strength-to-strength.

Early and Personal Life
Born and raised in Mutoko, Southern Rhodesia, prior to it becoming Zimbabwe, Tsitsi Dangarembga was born on the 4th of February, 1959. Growing up with her parents working at a mission school, she would spend the years between two to six living in England while her parents studied there. Moving back to Rhodesia in 1965, she would return at the time of independence, having learned to speak both English and Shona.

Later attending Arundel School, she would go on to receive her A-Levels there, before going on to study medicine at Cambridge University in England in 1977. Leaving after three years due to the racism she received, she would go on to teach, before studying medicine at the University of Zimbabwe. Working as a copywriter for a marketing agency, she would turn to writing, reading many of the classics of English and African literature, before becoming the successful writer she is today.

Writing Career
In 1985 Tsitsi Dangarembga would have her short-story ‘The Letter’ published in a Swedish anthology titled ‘Whispering Land.’ This was after winning second place in a writing competition, as she would go on to make a name for herself, writing a play in 1987 titled ‘She No Longer Weeps.’ Later in 1988 her first novel would be published, which was called ‘Nervous Conditions,’ and it was the first novel written by a black woman from Zimbabwe.

Setting a high standard for much of her work to follow, her debut would also receive the ‘Commonwealth Writers’ Prize’ in 1989. Included in the BBC’s 2018 list of ‘books that have shaped the world,’ it’s widely considered as one of the best African novels to have ever been written. Still writing to this very day, she’s also an outspoken activist for reform in Zimbabwe, all while continuing to write plays and novels.
Nervous Conditions
Released in 1988, this would not only serve as Tsitsi Dangarembga’s first novel, this would also become the first in a series of the same name. Followed by ‘The Book of Not’ in 2006, and then ‘This Mournable Body’ in 2018, it would become a widely heralded debut title. Seen as part of the African literary canon, it’s also a must for anyone hoping to learn more about the area, as well as on themes of race and class.

As the central character in the novel itself, Tambu has just found out that her older brother Nhamo has died, although she didn’t know him all too well. Wanting to study herself, she is visited by her successful uncle Babamukuru, as he offers Tambu the chance to take Nhamo’s place and study at the missionary school nearby him. Here she discovers a new life and new ideas, studying and taking exams which she excels in, all the while seeing changes take place around her. Taking her on a journey, she comes to understand herself and who she is, nervous of the many conditions that surround her.

It’s no wonder that this book was so well received, as it manages to encapsulate an entire way of life within its pages. Creating characters that really stand out, it’s language is so vivid and powerful, allowing it to essentially come alive off of the page. Dealing with a whole range of different issues, from race to gender to class, it makes sure to let the reader know and understand it central message.
This Mournable Body
First published in 2018, this would be the third book in the ‘Nervous Conditions’ series of novels, continuing the story of Tambu from before. Looking at her life after the previous books, they don’t necessarily need to be read in order, although it’s best so as to gain the most from the series. Following on from ‘The Book of Not,’ which was previously released in 2006, it’s a realistic portrayal of life in Zimbabwe.

Seeing the return of Tambudzai, this sees her living in a dilapidated youth hostel based in down-town Harare. Having just left her otherwise stagnant job, Tambu is facing dwindling prospects, which is when she gets a job as a biology teacher. Constantly trying to find her way in life, she continually comes up against obstacles and humiliations, all the while trying to discover who she is. Dealing with capitalism and colonialism, she must navigate this world, before finding her place within it.

This third novel is another powerful look into life in Zimbabwe, showing the rich culture there in full color. It also deals with a range of different subjects, making it fully accessible to an international audience, allowing them to experience the life there. The character of Tambu is also well developed, continuing her arc from before, making it a must for readers of the original two novels.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Tsitsi Dangarembga

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