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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

An Elegy for Easterly

Petina Gappah

[an overview of the reviews and critical reactions]

general information | review summaries | links | about the author

To purchase An Elegy for Easterly

Title: An Elegy for Easterly
Author: Petina Gappah
Genre: Stories
Written: 2009
Length: 288 pages
Availability: An Elegy for Easterly - US
An Elegy for Easterly - UK
An Elegy for Easterly - Canada

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Why we haven't reviewed it yet:

Don't have a copy; not a great fan of story collections

Chances that we will review it:


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Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Financial Times . 27/4/2009 Melissa McClements
The Guardian . 25/4/2009 Aminatta Forna
The Independent . 1/6/2009 Susan Williams
The Observer . 19/4/2009 Tom Fleming
The Telegraph . 2/6/2009 Sameer Rahim

  Review Consensus:

  Generally impressed

  From the Reviews:
  • "The collection of 13 stories offers a moving and disturbing portrait of contemporary Zimbabwe. (...) Gappah’s tone is poignant and tender throughout. There are even flashes of wry humour" - Melissa McClements, Financial Times

  • "Gappah is a talented writer, but one who wears her heart too obviously on her sleeve in these first few stories. And then, almost halfway through the book, comes 'The Mupandawana Dancing Champion' and everything changes. With this absolute gem, which tells the story of a retired coffin maker's attempt to win a local dancing contest, Gappah comes into her own. It is clever, beautifully crafted and very, very funny. Her sense of humour is the key, for it tempers a tendency towards didacticism" - Aminatta Forna, The Guardian

  • "Gappah's language is clean and crisp, with a musical quality that frequently draws on her first language, Shona. An Elegy for Easterly is a powerful debut from a fresh voice, with themes -- from disappointment and betrayal to promise and love -- that will resonate with readers everywhere." - Susan Williams, The Independent

  • "Again and again, Gappah reveals the hypocrisy of Zimbabwean society (.....) (I)t is the frequent humour in these stories that makes them remarkable, even if their outcomes can be tragic. Often satirical, occasionally lyrical, they are a delight." - Tom Fleming, The Observer

  • "Petina Gappah’s debut is good on the details. (...) Death haunts the book as it does Zimbabwe. Gappah strives to remain detached, but her anger can make this collection rather one note. The ordinary difficulties of life, about which she writes so well, are overshadowed by her nation’s spectacular collapse." - Sameer Rahim, The Telegraph

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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An Elegy for Easterly: Reviews: Petina Gappah: Other books of interest under review:
  • See Index of books from and relating to Africa

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About the Author:

       Zimbabwean author Petina Gappah was born in 1971.

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© 2009-2021 the complete review

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