Hairdresser was a perfect end of summer read; my book was sticky from sweat and sugary from bubbling peaches that went into the pies and preserves I was making a delicious hair-salon-gossip kind of novel about minding, mending and maintaining social mores. It is a novel about hearbreak, but more seriously, it is also about the inevitable breaks that happen in one s psyche, sometimes accompanied by injury to the physical body, when one s community disciplines in order to reinforce its social and sexual expectations. Neelika Jayawardane"Africa is a Country"
In this delicious and devastating first novel, which "The Guardian" named one of its ten best contemporary African books, Caine Prize finalist Tendai Huchu ("The Maestro, the Magistrate, and the Mathematician") portrays the heart of contemporary Zimbabwean society with humor and grace.
Vimbai is the best hairdresser in Mrs. Khumalo s salon, and she is secure in her status until the handsome, smooth-talking Dumisani shows up one day for work. Despite her resistance, the two become friends, and eventually, Vimbai becomes Dumisani s landlady. He is as charming as he is deft with the scissors, and Vimbai finds that he means more and more to her. Yet, by novel s end, the pair s deepening friendship used or embraced by Dumisani and Vimbai with different futures in mind collapses in unexpected brutality.
The novel is an acute portrayal of a rapidly changing Zimbabwe. In addition to Vimbai and Dumisani s personal development, the book shows us how social concerns shape the lives of everyday people."
The Hairdresser of Harare
Ohio University Press
Modern African Writing