An Elegy for Easterly
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Winner of the Guardian First Book Award, and shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor Short Story Award, this is an unforgettable collection of powerful stories by a stunning young voice from Zimbabwe.
A woman in a township is surrounded by dusty children but longs for a baby of her own; an old man finds that his job making coffins at No Matter Funeral Parlour brings unexpected riches; a politician’s widow stands quietly by at her husband’s funeral as his colleagues bury an empty casket.
Petina Gappah’s characters may have ordinary hopes and dreams, but they are living in a world where a loaf of bread costs half a million dollars – a country expected to have only four presidents in a hundred years. In this spirited debut, Gappah evokes the resilience and inventiveness of the people who struggle to live under Robert Mugabe’s regime whilst also battling issues common to all people everywhere: failed promises, unfulfilled dreams, and the yearning for something to anchor them to life.
Petina Gappah is a widely translated Zimbabwean writer. She is the author of two novels, Out of Darkness, Shining Light; The Book of Memory; and two short story collections, Rotten Row and An Elegy for Easterly. Her work has been short-listed for the Orwell Prize, the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the PEN/Open Book Award, the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and the Prix Femina (etranger), among other honors. She is the recipient of the Guardian First Book Award and the McKitterick Prize from the Society of Authors. A lawyer specializing in international trade and investment as well as a writer, Petina currently lives in Harare, Zimbabwe.