Home > Art > African Literature > Book Review: Rotten Row

It will not be possible for me to escape the past. But if I go back there, it will only be to find ways to make rich my present. To accept that there are no villains in my life, just broken people, trying to heal, stumbling in darkness and breaking each other…To stop living what has been, until now, this pale imitation of life.

~ Petina Gappah

Rotten Row is a new collection of stories by Pettinah Gappah, set in Harare, Rotten Row street were most of the criminal courts sit. Her style of writing is fascinating and different from all the others that i have read. Maybe its because i get the inner jokes since i am Zimbabwean and i love how she mixes shona and english ensuring both readers do not feel shortchanged. All of these stories have a criminal theme, law and justice. The storylines become intertwined as you continue reading and some characters are recurring. My fave of the story collections are that one were a coffin refuses to move, the other one were a lady is seeking a love portion and the one were Washington’s wife decides enough is enough. These stories tell everyday life, very relatable indeed; drama at a wedding, policemen taking bribes, vendors selling different wares, stories of the very few white people left in Zimbabwe, that time when we all became billionaires and so fourth. Listen, this collection has something for everyone, if you are superstitious read it; if you are into crimes and justice do read it; if you like reading about post colonial Africa this here is your book dear. I will give it a 7 (because of a few stories i failed to relate to). Do read it here and tell me what you think!

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