Last week, we reported that Faber Books’ reissue of Dangarembga’s novels three novels was out and that readers could now purchase each book for £8.99, making the entire trilogy more accessible to readers around the world.
In celebration of the new edition, Gappah shared on Twitter how she became Dangarembga’s No. 1 fan in 1993 after reading Nervous Conditions.
I’m really happy that Tsitsi Dangarembga’s luminous first novel, NERVOUS CONDITIONS has been published by @FaberBooks. It was first published in 1988, but I only read it in 1993. I bought it in the UZ bookshop, read it in a day, and felt shell-shocked when I finished it. pic.twitter.com/TtN8cQNaTk
— Petina Gappah (@VascoDaGappah) March 9, 2021
Read the complete text of Gappah’s thread bellow:
I’m really happy that Tsitsi Dangarembga’s luminous first novel, Nervous Conditions has been published by Faber Books. It was first published in 1988, but I only read it in 1993. I bought it in the UZ bookshop, read it in a day, and felt shell-shocked when I finished it. Nervous Conditions spoke powerfully about duality and acculturation, to which many of us who transitioned from rural/township schools to essentially Rhodie schools could relate. At school we were Nyasha. At home we were Tambu, subject to cultural strictures and expectations.
Dangarembga wrote with shining clarity. Until she came along, I had worshipped at the feet of Dambudzo Marechera. But I wasn’t present in his writing. Marechera’s black women were often degraded, and were usually sexual objects. I still loved him but it was love at a distance. Nervous Conditions was an earthquake because here was a Zimbabwean novel in which I could not only see my dual self, but in Lucia, and Tambu’s mother I saw MaininiMaiLibby and MaiguruMaiTaona, my rural aunts. And Babamukuru embodied my father’s generation’s obsession with education. And in Nhamo, whose death famously opens the novel, I saw every boy (and man) that I had beaten in class, and who had beaten me up for it (in one case actually with fists). Nhamo is NC’s most prescient character. Because at the root of our damaged politics is toxic masculinity.
I love this novel, and hope that this new edition will bring it to a new generation of readers. I have personally gone through about 4 copies over the years, including my first, with many exclamations in the margins. I can’t wait to get hold of my fifth (and 3 for the Library!)
We’re with you Petina Gappah!
Click here to gift the latest edition of Nervous Conditions to the next generation of Dangarembga stans.