BOOK REVIEW: ‘House of Stone’ by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma
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re you looking for a history of the nation of Zimbabwe through the eyes of a compelling, alluring, and irresistible psychopath? If the answer is yes, then ‘House of Stone’ is for you.

‘House of Stone’ is the critically acclaimed debut novel by Zimbabwean writer and Assistant Professor Novuyo Rosa Tshuma. It was the winner of the 2019 Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award for Fiction with a Sense of Place and the 2019 Bulawayo Arts Award for Outstanding Fiction, and was nominated for the 2019 Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, the 2019 Dylan Thomas Prize, the 2019 Rathbones Folio Prize, and the 2020 Balcones Fiction Prize.

The blurb:

Bukhosi has gone missing.
His father, Abed, and his mother, Agnes, cling to the hope that he has run away, rather than been murdered by government thugs. Only the lodger seems to have any idea…
Zamani has lived in the spare room for years now. Quiet, polite, well-read and well-heeled, he’s almost part of the family – but almost isn’t quite good enough for Zamani. Cajoling, coaxing and coercing Abed and Agnes into revealing their sometimes tender, often brutal life stories, Zamani aims to steep himself in borrowed family history, so that he can fully inherit and inhabit its uncertain future.

Literandra Review:

‘House of Stone’ is a first-person narrative that recounts the history of Zimbabwe, formerly called Rhodesia, from colonialism through independence to post-independence self-rule, through, or rather, in parallel to the story of Zamani, the narrator. Novuyo Rosa Tshuma has created an unforgettable protagonist who will have you shiver in fear yet eagerly flip the pages in anticipation, almost in support of his cunningly calculated moves.

‘House of Stone’ is a novel that […] though based on history, isn’t limited to the often restricting confines of historical fiction.

‘House of Stone’ is a novel that is set against the backdrop of real historical events, but far from being your average historical fiction title, it transcends the genre and, at times, can comfortably pass for a good psychological thriller. In essence, it is fiction that though based on history, isn’t limited to the often restricting confines of historical fiction.

This book is not just an excellent example of multilayered and multifaceted storytelling and plot denouement, it is also a masterclass in writing and literary creativity. Novuyo Rosa Tshuma is a gifted storyteller and writer, with poetic and literary prowess, political and historical awareness, and an unapologetic love for Zimbabwe and its people.

‘House of Stone’ is a one-of-a-kind novel that will stand the test of time, and that we would not be surprised to see on reading lists for creative writing courses in universities in the future.

‘House of Stone’ is a one-of-a-kind novel that will stand the test of time, and that we would not be surprised to see on reading lists for creative writing courses in universities in the future.