Rotten Row by Petina Gappah

Rotten Row

Petina Gappah

A collection of interconnected short stories which illuminate life in contemporary Zimbabwe. Stories of violent crime, corruption & so called justice, based loosely around the road of the same name in Harare. From the first story of a hangman to the gossiping women in a hairdressers sharing the news of the stabbing of a friend, we meet vivid characters painted with pathos & surprising humour. Gave me a real insight into another world.

Extract

She saw the kombi (omnibus) as part of her investment strategy for the day she would return home, but there has been no return, either for her or for her investment. The brother in whose care she left it spends nothing at all on its maintenance. And so it is that the legally mandated fire extinguisher under the seat is nothing but an empty red can with a nozzle and fading lettering. Thick sheets of semi-transparent plastic sheeting have replaced the glass windows. The factory-made sign says '12 passengers only', but extra wooden benches have been built in to make room for an additional eight. Travelling calls for posterial dexterity, the most comfortable position for any passenger is to sit on one buttock. Passengers are usually so tightly packed that they do not need seatbelts, which is just as well because those are as distant a memory as the front indicator lights. By the end of the journey, they will know each other more intimately than is, perhaps, proper for strangers.

Parallels
  • The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah
  • An Elegy for Easterly by Petina Gappah
  • The Hairdresser of Harare by Tendai Huchu

Books with similar mood

The Penguin Book of International Gay Writing

Mark Mitchell

Sympathy

Olivia Sudjic

Escalator

Michael Gardiner

Learning to Talk

Hilary Mantel

Something for the Ghosts

David Constantine

The Suicide Kit

David L Hayles

In

Andrew Waterhouse

The Roost

Neil Butler

Dragons

Matthew Francis

View with a Grain of Sand

Wislawa Szymborska

Lintel

Gillian Allnut

Physical

Andrew McMillan

How the Dead Live

Will Self

Heartbreak

Craig Raine

Hieroglyphics and Other Stories

Anne Donovan

Portrait of My Lover as a Horse

Selima Hill

Downriver

Sean O'Brien

The Year's Afternoon

Douglas Dunn

The Book of Sheffield

Catherine Taylor ed

Underground: Tales for London

Various authors

The Cartography of Others

Catherine McNamara

All Embracing & Other Stories

Dave Pescod

Beirut39

Samuel Shimon and Hanan Al-Shaykh (ed)

Vertigo

W G Sebald

Morning Breaks in the Elevator

Lemn Sissay

Laureate's Block

Tony Harrison

Poachers

Tom Franklin

Multitudes

Lucy Caldwell

Cold Sea Stories

Pawel Huelle

Bevel

William Letford

On Becoming a Fairy Godmother

Sara Maitland

Curfew

Sean O'Reilly

A Brief Excursion & Other Stories

Antun Soljan

Men in the Off Hours

Anne Carson

Down the Rabbit Hole

Juan Pablo Villalobos

Ice Cream

Helen Dunmore

Pedro Paramo

Juan Rulfo

1914: A Novel

Jean Echenoz

Malarky

Anakana Schofield

Modern Love

Max Wallis

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

Yiyun Li

The Smiling School for Calvinists

Bill Duncan

Ridin an Risin

Jacob Ross and Andrea Enisuoh (eds)

Wasted in Love

Allan Wilson

The Spot

David Means

A Simple Story

Leonardo Sciascia

Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures

Vincent Lam

The Hidden

Tobias Hill