14.47 Yvonne Vera The Stone Virgins: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780374528942

The Stone Virgins: A Novel

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9780374528942: The Stone Virgins: A Novel

Winner of the Macmillan Prize for African Adult Fiction

An uncompromising novel by one of Africa's premiere writers, detailing the horrors of civil war in luminous, haunting prose

In 1980, after decades of guerilla war against colonial rule, Rhodesia earned its hard-fought-for independence from Britain. Less than two years thereafter when Mugabe rose to power in the new Zimbabwe, it signaled the begining of brutal civil unrest that would last nearly a half decade more.

With The Stone Virgins Yvonne Vera examines the dissident movement from the perspective of two sisters living in a small township outside of Bulawayo. In a portrait painted in successive impressions of life before and after the liberation, Vera explores the quest for dignity and a centered existence against a backdrop of unimaginable violence; the twin instincts of survival and love; the rival pulls of township and city life; and mankind's capacity for terror, beauty, and sacrifice. One sister will find a reason for hope. One will not make it through alive.

Weaving historical fact within a story of grand passions and striking endurance, Vera has gifted us with a powerful and provocative testament to the resilience of the Zimbabwean people.

Le informazioni nella sezione "Riassunto" possono far riferimento a edizioni diverse di questo titolo.

About the Author:

Yvonne Vera was born in Bulawayo, where she is now director of the National Gallery. She is the author of Butterfly Burning (FSG, 2000), and Without a Name and Under the Tongue (FSG, 2002).

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The Stone Virgins
1950--1980 1 Selborne Avenue in Bulawayo cuts from Fort Street (at Charter House), across to Jameson Road (of the Jameson Raid), through to Main Street, to Grey Street, to Abercorn Street, to Fife Street, to Rhodes Street, to Borrow Street, out into the lush Centenary Gardens with their fusion of dahlias, petunias, asters, red salvia, and mauve petrea bushes, onward to the National Museum, on the left side. On the right side, and directly opposite the museum, is a fountain, cooling the air; water flows out over the arms of two large mermaids. A plaque rests in front of the fountain on a raised platform, recalling those who died in the Wilson Patrol. Wilson Street. Farther down the road is a host of eucalyptus trees, redolent, their aroma euphoric. Selborne Avenue is a straight, unwavering road, proud of its magnificence. The first half, beginning at the center of the city, is covered with purple jacaranda blooms. Vibrant. These large trees stand high off the ground, with masses of tiny leaves; their roots bulge off the earth where they meet rock, climb over, then plunge under the ground. Wedged in between them are the flamboyant trees, with blistering red blooms, flat-topped, which take over territory from December to January, brightening the sky louder than any jacaranda could. The rest of thecity is concrete and sandstone. Except here and there, a pride of cassias, flowering in resplendent yellow cones in June and July; then the temperature is at its lowest. But first, the jacarandas. Their leaves and petals merge above the wide street and the pavements flanking it. The trees create a dazzling horizon. On the face of every passerby, the flickering movement of the leaves traces shadows of the trees like spilled dye, while light swims from above through their dizzying scent; the shadow is fragrant, penetrating. These trees, carefully positioned to color the road, create a deep festive haze. Bell-shaped petals carpet the street scene where a veiled bride and her maids suddenly appear from the magistrate's court at the Tredgold Building and drive a few blocks down to Centenary Park; they emerge out of polished cars in twirling gowns and fingers of white silk, clutching bouquets of pink carnations. They circle the fountain, and the groom. Their poses are measured and delicate. The groom wears a tailcoat, a pleated shirt, a gray cummerbund, and a single white buttonhole rose. The photographer bends and shifts and shields his lens from glare, from spray, but not from the blooms. From the beginning of October come a relentless heat and a gushing rain; November beats the petals down. The heat is intense. Long after the blooms have withered, the small leaves turn yellow and then dry. They rain down. The trees now are naked and majestic, while feathery seeds waft into the glassy sky. They drift. Higher than the trees. They land in the sky. Selborne is the most splendid street in Bulawayo, and you can look down it for miles and miles, with your eyes encountering everything plus blooms; all the way from the laced balcony of Sir Willoughby's Douslin House (he was amongthe first pioneers with the British South African Company), or from the Selborne Hotel (built 1897) adjacent to it, or even from Thomas Meikle's Department Store. Selborne takes you to the Ascot Shopping Centre and Ascot Racecourse, where the horses bristle and canter past the Matsheumhlophe River, out of the city limits to the neat suburbs of Riverside, Hillside, Burnside. On your way to one of these fine suburbs, you may choose to turn into Catherine Berry Drive, or Phillips Way, which brings you past the Bulawayo City Golf Club green, to the smaller streets, secluded. Named after English poets--Kipling, Tennyson, Byron, Keats, and Coleridge. Before all that, Selborne Avenue is straight and unbending; it offers a single solid view, undisturbed. Selborne carries you straight out of the city limits and heads all the way to Johannesburg like an umbilical cord; therefore, part of that city is here. Its joy and notorious radiance are measured in the sleek gestures of city laborers, black, who voyage back and forth between Bulawayo and Johannesburg and hold that city up like a beacon; when they return home, they are quick of step and quick of voice. They have learned something more of surprise, of the unexpected: of chance. They have been dipped deep in the gold mines, helmeted, torchlit, plummeted, digging for that precious gold which is not theirs. Not at all. They are not only black; they are outsiders. They make no claim. This is paid work, so they do it. Egoli ... they say and sigh ... about Johannesburg. The way they pronounce the name of that city, say it, fold it over the tongue, tells you everything; you can see the scaffolding and smell frangipani at nighttime, in Jo'burg. They are nostalgic and harbor a self-satisfied weariness that belongs to those who pursue divine wishes, who possess the sort ofpatience required to graft lemon trees and orange trees and make a new and sour crop. They are content. They know how to evade gazes. They can challenge the speculative, the hostile and suspicious inquiries about their presence in the city, and this without flicking an eyelid. They click their fingers, move one knee forward, and dance mightily. To begin with, only their fingers move, tapdance heel to toe, with a body as free as a weed in running streams. What they touch, they sing of with scorn; what they scorn, they do not touch. Their trousers hang low past their heels, loose, baggy, and their hands tuck into large pockets and beat over their thighs in a quick motion. These men are impatient, ready to depart. They are uneasy, almost ready to return to Jo'burg empty-handed, to work there with appetite, with that steady easy zeal which accompanies anything temporary. Ready to sleep under the most luminous streetlights, to find places where they can bury their hurt and make love to new women while the sound of pennywhistles and bicycle tires sliding on tar urges them on. And anonymity. Home is Bulawayo. This side of the city, not the other, their own side separated. Over and past Lobengula Street, the last road before you touch Fort Street and penetrate the city, before this, beyond. When they return here, neighbors give way and let them pass, and they enjoy suddenly being regarded as strangers in their own town, where everyone listens intently to their sun-dried whispers, examines their indolence and scorn, respects their well-decorated idleness, their cobra-skin belts and elephant-skin hats, eloquent, topped with their exciting layabout tones, why not, what with their cross-belts pulling their waistlines up when it suits them, on an afternoonwhen they attend soccer matches at Barbourfields Stadium, or Luveve Stadium, or White City Stadium. There they watch a game between Highlanders and any visiting team, whatever its name. So they put on their expensive shirts, which they fold carelessly up to the elbow, and their Slim Jim ties dangle all the way to the waist. What is more, they know some gumboot dance, some knuckle-ready sound, some click song. Their readiness is buoyed by something physical, their portable radios, their double-doored wardrobes, recently purchased, which they squeeze into small single rooms with low roofs, already tight and bursting with metal single beds, paraffin stoves, and display cabinets lined with silk flowers, teapots, breakable plates. Bright, colorful carpets from Nield Lukan to cover the cold township cement. No anxiety, even though in a week or less these new carpets will be choked with dust, and they have available to them nothing more than grass brooms, with which they will raise the dust off them, and let it settle, and raise it again. Midday. The men change into their double-vent jackets and their bright scarves, and walk easily down the street. Heat or rain. On Selborne. In a secluded bar, black men recite all they can remember about that time when Satchmo was suddenly in their midst, taking their song, their song, "Skokiaan," from their mouths and letting it course through his veins like blood, their blood. The wonder of it. The enduring wonder of it. The love of it. The Bulawayo men play it again in their half-lit bars, wondering if their memory is true, if indeed they have touched the arm and sleeve of that glorious man, that Satchmo. The basement. A dark dank room in one of the finest hotels on Selborne Avenue, a storage place for empty beer bottles and crates and disused cutlery, where only the black workersdescend; they note the amusement and let it be, from midnight till dawn. Dream begets dream. Smoke burns on an evening and buries talk and blinds the view. The drinking glasses passing from hand to hand are improvised from brown Castle beer bottles cut in the middle. Drinks spill over the tray and are cuddled between elbow and breast. They clink and splash between the lowest chairs and the highest chairs and among the blossoming yellow shadows cast by the kerosene lamps pegged to the walls, where they hang, swing, hang. Nothing is permanent, neither anger nor caress, just swinging. In that half dark, elbows, handshakes, and knees quiver and navigate all the way to the back of the room, slip and settle down, while pledges and promises spoil and are reversed, as short-lived as the moth wings squashed under their feet. Someone curses. The insult is brief, is lost, as someone else whistles a friendly tune that lasts. A glass drops and breaks. The floor is wet and slippery as the beer dissolves into dirt and cement and the fragments of glass. The eyes numb and burning with smoke, the humming voices, the quiet afterward, as though anything could silence despair and turn it into a private matter. They speak low, in tones docile and easy. Inebriated; the night, the smoke, the music beating their soles. A woman tugs a short skirt downward to cover her knees. Her panty hose is laddered nylon all the way to the heels, but who is checking in this kind of half dark, half love; ...

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Descrizione libro Farrar Straus Giroux, United States, 2004. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Winner of the Macmillan Prize for African Adult Fiction An uncompromising novel by one of Africa s premiere writers, detailing the horrors of civil war in luminous, haunting prose In 1980, after decades of guerilla war against colonial rule, Rhodesia earned its hard-fought-for independence from Britain. Less than two years thereafter when Mugabe rose to power in the new Zimbabwe, it signaled the begining of brutal civil unrest that would last nearly a half decade more. With The Stone Virgins Yvonne Vera examines the dissident movement from the perspective of two sisters living in a small township outside of Bulawayo. In a portrait painted in successive impressions of life before and after the liberation, Vera explores the quest for dignity and a centered existence against a backdrop of unimaginable violence; the twin instincts of survival and love; the rival pulls of township and city life; and mankind s capacity for terror, beauty, and sacrifice. One sister will find a reason for hope. One will not make it through alive. Weaving historical fact within a story of grand passions and striking endurance, Vera has gifted us with a powerful and provocative testament to the resilience of the Zimbabwean people. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780374528942

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Descrizione libro Farrar Straus Giroux, United States, 2004. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Winner of the Macmillan Prize for African Adult Fiction An uncompromising novel by one of Africa s premiere writers, detailing the horrors of civil war in luminous, haunting prose In 1980, after decades of guerilla war against colonial rule, Rhodesia earned its hard-fought-for independence from Britain. Less than two years thereafter when Mugabe rose to power in the new Zimbabwe, it signaled the begining of brutal civil unrest that would last nearly a half decade more. With The Stone Virgins Yvonne Vera examines the dissident movement from the perspective of two sisters living in a small township outside of Bulawayo. In a portrait painted in successive impressions of life before and after the liberation, Vera explores the quest for dignity and a centered existence against a backdrop of unimaginable violence; the twin instincts of survival and love; the rival pulls of township and city life; and mankind s capacity for terror, beauty, and sacrifice. One sister will find a reason for hope. One will not make it through alive. Weaving historical fact within a story of grand passions and striking endurance, Vera has gifted us with a powerful and provocative testament to the resilience of the Zimbabwean people. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780374528942

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Descrizione libro Farrar Straus Giroux, United States, 2004. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Winner of the Macmillan Prize for African Adult Fiction An uncompromising novel by one of Africa s premiere writers, detailing the horrors of civil war in luminous, haunting prose In 1980, after decades of guerilla war against colonial rule, Rhodesia earned its hard-fought-for independence from Britain. Less than two years thereafter when Mugabe rose to power in the new Zimbabwe, it signaled the begining of brutal civil unrest that would last nearly a half decade more. With The Stone Virgins Yvonne Vera examines the dissident movement from the perspective of two sisters living in a small township outside of Bulawayo. In a portrait painted in successive impressions of life before and after the liberation, Vera explores the quest for dignity and a centered existence against a backdrop of unimaginable violence; the twin instincts of survival and love; the rival pulls of township and city life; and mankind s capacity for terror, beauty, and sacrifice. One sister will find a reason for hope. One will not make it through alive. Weaving historical fact within a story of grand passions and striking endurance, Vera has gifted us with a powerful and provocative testament to the resilience of the Zimbabwean people. Codice libro della libreria BTE9780374528942

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Descrizione libro Farrar Straus Giroux. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Paperback. 192 pages. Dimensions: 7.9in. x 5.5in. x 0.6in.Winner of the Macmillan Prize for African Adult FictionAn uncompromising novel by one of Africas premiere writers, detailing the horrors of civil war in luminous, haunting proseIn 1980, after decades of guerilla war against colonial rule, Rhodesia earned its hard-fought-for independence from Britain. Less than two years thereafter when Mugabe rose to power in the new Zimbabwe, it signaled the begining of brutal civil unrest that would last nearly a half decade more. With The Stone Virgins Yvonne Vera examines the dissident movement from the perspective of two sisters living in a small township outside of Bulawayo. In a portrait painted in successive impressions of life before and after the liberation, Vera explores the quest for dignity and a centered existence against a backdrop of unimaginable violence; the twin instincts of survival and love; the rival pulls of township and city life; and mankinds capacity for terror, beauty, and sacrifice. One sister will find a reason for hope. One will not make it through alive. Weaving historical fact within a story of grand passions and striking endurance, Vera has gifted us with a powerful and provocative testament to the resilience of the Zimbabwean people. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Codice libro della libreria 9780374528942

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