I decided that I’d like to start posting a bit more here. So, new idea, I’m going to try to review every single book I read. This may become cumbersome, and I’ll remain posting about other things that inspire me too, like music and vlogs and little things found on the internet, but, this will not only help me practice my writing skills but will allow me to chronicle books that I’ve read over the years. And if anyone is genuinely interested in my book reviews, it will allow y’all to get some ideas for some new reads. Beginning now, this blog will become part timeline of a comparative literature major and the novel-conquests that I have taken on, independently and assigned, and part playlist of the world of music around me.
Onto Zakes Mda. In Mda’s novel, Heart of Redness, a small African community containing the amaXhosa people, must come to terms with selling their land to a developer who will turn the space into a gambling amusement park or save the land to preserve it for it’s natural beauty. It not only tells that tale, which takes place in the 1990’s, but goes back in time when the fight started occurring, between the Believers and the Unbelievers whom fought over which prophets to agree with and what to do about missionaries taking over the land. And, on a layer on top of that, it is the tale of a reverse immigrant. A man named Camagu moved to America to further his studies and decided to move back to Africa to be at his homeland. The novel becomes a coming-of-age tale and that’s even kind of loosely associated because Camagu is about 40. But, this story takes on the tale of a quest novel, with Camagu trying to find himself and get lost in the culture.
It’s also a beautiful tale of learning and being inspired by music and beauty. One of the more inspiring things my professor said about the novel was, “We surround ourselves with beautiful things because they make us feel better. They make people happier, you understand the spirit of a culture through its artwork”. And that’s definitely what Mda did, he taught the reader about a culture that they probably had no idea about even before the book began. He paints a picture with the colors nature and the sounds of the inhabitants to really make you understand the amaXhosa.
The book was very simple and easy to read. Good use of imagery. Very inspiring character development.