This month, I had the chance to read two works by writers I have met, something I have not done since I got my hands on a copy of Nhoroondo dzaMupambwa by Sarudzayi Chifamba-Barnes.
The first of these was Sisterwives by Rachel Connor. She did a workshop at Writers' Block a few weeks ago, which I attended, and I got myself a signed copy. I was my first time to meet Rachel, but I found her to be very down-to-earth despite the fact that she wrote such a bold novel.
Sisterwives is about polygamy in a religious sect somewhere in America. Think Amish here, in the sense that they are determined to lead their lives away from mainstream society, although I am pretty sure that the Amish are not polygamists. That would be Mormons and their off-shoots.
Sisterwives is actually about how secrets can follow a community that has tried to leave everything behind, and raise their heads despite everyone in the know's greatest efforts to conceal them. I was reminded of a novel by another author I know personally, my compatriot Sarudzai Mubvakure's Amelia's Inheritance. As someone from a culture where polygamy is normal, and it is in fact organised Judaeo-Christian religion that frowns on the practice, I thought it was a very interesting take on polygamy. Most African writers have coined and tend to use the term "co-wife", but I note that "sisterwife" can be literally translated to its ChiShona equivalent, "mukadzin'ina", i.e. MUKADZI ("wife") and a contraction of MUNIN'INA ("sister").
The other book I read is by John Chadwick, The Brothers Rat. A lurid tale of indulgence and decadence set during Jack the Ripper's last night out.
Johh Chadwick is the talented artist who did the cover for the Kindle edition of Muna Hacha Maive Nei? Actually, I got my copy of the Brothers Rat on my phone, using the Kindle app. John, together with Sean, another member of King Ink, appears on my film MY NAME IS NOT BOB MARLEY, telling the story of how I was mistaken for, Vince, Booker T's guitarist by a bunch of old music lovers who cannot tell one black man with dreadlocks from another.
Both good books I am now recommending to you all.