Without a Name and Under the Tongue

Un libro in lingua di Yvonne Vera edito da Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2002

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Without a Name at once shocks with its violence and astounds with its beauty. In prose that reads like poetry, Yvonne Vera charts the course of a young woman, Mazvita, as she journeys from rural Mubaira to the chaos of late 1970s Harare, a hotbed of violent political action and revolutionary social change. After collapsing from mental and physical exhaustion, Mazvita moves in with a young man, who, when it becomes evident that she is pregnant, turns Mazvita out of his home. Destitute, she is led by fear and desperation to commit an unthinkable act.
With Under the Tongue, Vera became the first Zimbabwean writer to deal frankly with the problem of incest that plagued the country. When Zhizha is raped by her father, a self-styled war hero, she loses all desire and ability to speak. Her relationships with her mother - jailed for killing her husband after discovering his brutal acts - and her grandmother evoke profound meditations on the nature and necessity of language and expression, and on the affinity between silence and sorrow: "A word does not rot unless it is carried in the mouth for too long, under the tongue."

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