Book Review: An Elegy for Easterly by Petina Gappah

Zimbabwean writer and diplomat, Petina Gappah, has become something of a controversial public figure in the last few years. Once a staunch critic of the Zanu PF and Robert Mugabe, Gappah surprised followers by joining the presidential advisory council of Mugabe’s successor Emerson Mnangagwa. The book was published in 2009 by Faber and Faber, Inc. This book will be a difficult and most-likely boring read for non-Zimbabweans without any background knowledge of Zimbabwean politics and culture. Some of the stories seem quite similar to one another but that might be more of a thematic “issue.” The collection is a mixture of tragedy and comedy, which accurately portrays how Zimbabweans have responded to enormous tragedy and loss, with comedy. An unhinged sense of humour that is almost as incomprehensible, and terrifying as the tragedy that begets it. I found myself laughing while reading some of the stories, but that laughter gave way to the realization that, though this laughter is almost miraculous, the miracles we pray for the most, remain unheeded. I am grateful for the laughter and for the memories.

Rating 4.6/5