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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Review: The Hairdresser of Harare

The Hairdresser of Harare
Author:  Tendai Huchu
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Publisher:  Weaver Press
Release Date:  October 12, 2010
Paperback: 190 pages

Source:  From the Author
Buy the Book:
Book Description
Like very good dark chocolate this is a delicious novel, with a bitter-sweet flavour. Vimbai is a hairdresser, the best in Mrs Khumalo's salon, and she knows she is the queen on whom they all depend. Her situation is reversed when the good-looking, smooth-talking Dumisani joins them. However, his charm and desire to please slowly erode Vimbai's rancour and when he needs somewhere to live, Vimbai becomes his landlady. So, when Dumisani needs someone to accompany him to his brother's wedding to help smooth over a family upset, Vimbai obliges. Startled to find that this smart hairdresser is the scion of one of the wealthiest families in Harare, she is equally surprised by the warmth of their welcome; and it is their subsequent generosity which appears to foster the relationship between the two young people. The ambiguity of this deepening friendship - used or embraced by Dumisani and Vimbai with different futures in mind - collapses in unexpected brutality when secrets and jealousies are exposed. Written with delightful humour and a penetrating eye, The Hairdresser of Harare is a novel that you will find hard to put down.
I first heard about this book when I read Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic's review about it.  I left a comment and the next thing I know the author has emailed me to see if I would be interested in reading and reviewing the book.  I think it was the second book I had received for review.  Of course I jumped on it and said yes!  And I love the cover design.  To make a long story short the book sat on my bookshelf collecting dust.   Until now!
I read this book in no time and I really was drawn into the story.  The author writes Vimbai character with a sassiness and short tongue that makes you laugh.  Well made me laugh at least!  As a single mother in Zimbabwe, Vimbai has a hard time making ends meet as a hairdresser.  That is until Dumisani comes to the shop and shakes things up a bit.  This story is so universal.  There are so many workplaces out there that have this same situation going on right now.  Someone is at work hating the new girl or not liking the change the new manager has brought to their workplace.  Most of the time it has nothing to do with that persons character, just the situation.  Dumisani is a really likeable character.  Even when the other shoe drops.
The only reason I did not give this book 5 stars is for one small thing I missed in the book.  The writer is Zimbabwean.  The book takes place in Zimbabwe.  There are so many cultural references and words that are not explained to the non-Zimbabwean reader.  A few times he does it here and there but overall that is the one thing missing for me in this book.  
Most reviewers of this book were not impressed or completely disliked the ending and I have to agree.  I wanted a better ending.  I would have liked the book to close out some of the story lines a bit better.  I was left saying..."What happened to...?"
Other Bloggers Reviews
Reflections of a Bookaholic (This is where I heard about this book originally.) 
Leeswamme's Blog
 Reading on a Rainy Day
I recommend this book to adults due to some violence and light sexual references.

This book is number 1 in my Off the Shelf Reading Challenge
This book is number 1 in my TBR Reading Challenge
This book is number 2 in my Genre Variety Reading Challenge
This book is number 2 in my Good Reads Challenge

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