gavinf1980 (gavinf1980) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

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Book #22: The House of Hunger by Dambudzo Marechera

The House of HungerThe House of Hunger by Dambudzo Marechera

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a complete blind read, and I wished I'd been able to find a clearer plot synopsis beforehand, as it was quite a difficult book. The narrator jumped around in the timeline a lot as he told his story, so the book would go into a flashback suddenly at times. Also, the narrative was a continuous flow of text, with almost no breaks, and often very long paragraphs.

The story was primarily a coming-of-age tale about a character who ended up being raised by his brother after losing both his parents; it put me in mind of S.E. Hinton's "Rumble Fish" at times. What really struck me was the brutal and gritty portrayal of life in Zimbabwe. The book mentioned race and politics a lot, with references to "white-only hospitals", and also domestic violence, and men who seemed to think nothing of beating their wives. The book seemed to be full of violence too, with the main character said to have been abused by his father as a child, and also seemingly continually involved in fights with other characters.

It wasn't exactly easy to discern what this book was about at times (my understanding was that the "House of Hunger" was his childhood home, but it wasn't explicitly stated) but the dialogue, and vivid imagery throughout, made me want to keep reading. It was luckily only a short book, so I was able to read it in just three days.

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Tags: africa, around the world in 100 books, bildungsroman/coming of age, grief, gritty, parenting, period fiction (20th century), politics, race, realism

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