The Setting Sun and the Rolling World

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9780807083215: The Setting Sun and the Rolling World

Moving and provocative short stories that explore the strained relations between parent and child, husband an wife, brothers, and friends, as traditional values of rural Africa clash with ambitions of urban life.

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From Publishers Weekly:

The great gift of these tales from Zimbabwe is their refusal to admit cultural barriers. Mungoshi's american title.pk ( Waiting for the Rain ) landscapes are almost entirely foreign, but his people are as recognizable and accessible as one's own neighbors. Protagonists may be convinced of the magic properties of their lion-skin belts, their parents may burn the roots of plants for good luck, but here these rituals seem no more extraordinary than, say, masses for the dead or prayers offered to saints. Only modernization is exotic--Western education, European employers. Elders react to their children's defections from ancestral ways with a piercingly familiar mix of anger and compassion; the promise of "progress" entices and betrays youth into urban poverty. Neither tradition nor technology shields these characters--families disintegrate in the wake of marital infidelities; hardships drive brothers to alcoholism; lovers deceive one another. Mungoshi's exceptional achievement is compromised, however, by his periodic abandonment of the confident simplicity of his narration for spurts of poesy.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Written by a black South African and portraying contemporary life in Zimbabwe, this collection largely eschews the political. Surprisingly, it doesn't suffer, for its 17 stories effectively capture something of the cruelties between people. Often poetic, the stories are told nevertheless in straightforward prose; their strength is the universality we see in the title story when a son asks permission to leave home irrespective of a worldly-wise father's warnings. Several are forgettable vignettes, but in stories portraying an accident caused by a white, unpunished because his victim is black, or a man skeptical about ever finding a job, or a son who cannot face returning to his dying mother Mungoshi shows a terribly fragile world, rural and urban, that many will understand.
- Peter Bricklebank, City Coll., CUNY
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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