Tsitsi Dangarembga was born and brought up in Zimbabwe. She studied medicine and psychology before turning to writing full-time and becoming the first Black woman in Zimbabwe to publish a novel in English. Nervous Conditions was the recipient of the 1989 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Fiction, the book has become a modern classic. Nervous Conditions was also chosen as one of the 'Top Ten Books of Africa's 100 Best Books of the 20th Century' by a Pan African Initiative in 2002. Dangarembga's sequel to Nervous Conditions entitled The Book of Not was published in 2006 by Ayebia. In addition, she has written a play entitled She No Longer Weeps. Having studied at the German Film and Television Academy, Dangarembga now also works as a scriptwriter, consultant and film director. She is the founder of International Images Film Festival for Women (IIFF). She is currently working on the third novel in the trilogy and lives in Zimbabwe.
Tambu, an adolescent living in colonial Rhodesia of the '60s, seizes the opportunity to leave her rural community to study at the missionary school run by her wealthy, British-educated uncle. With an uncanny and often critical self-awareness, Tambu narrates this skillful first novel by a Zimbabwe native. Like many heroes of the bildungsroman, Tambu, in addition to excelling at her curriculum, slowly reaches some painful conclusions--about her family, her proscribed role as a woman, and the inherent evils of colonization. Tambu often thinks of her mother, ``who suffered from being female and poor and uneducated and black so stoically.'' Yet, she and her cousin, Nyasha, move increasingly farther away from their cultural heritage. At a funeral in her native village, Tambu admires the mourning of the women, ``shrill, sharp, shiny, needles of sound piercing cleanly and deeply to let the anguish in, not out.'' In many ways, this novel becomes Tambu's keening--a resonant, eloquent tribute to the women in her life, and to their losses. (Mar.)
"This is the novel we have been waiting for...I am sure it will be a classic."