Family. Faith. Independence.
This is a story that is multi-generational, multi-charactered, and multi-relational with prose that weaves an interconnecting magic that clearly invites the gaze and mind to engage.
With a compound-cum-village into a community that is the root and focal point for the evolution, convergence, and maturation of the author's vision, our characters grow, change, experience loss, find new footing, but always with a connection to the land from which they came.
There is a certain level of skill needed to build an interconnected cast of characters around a single focal point without the prose becoming bloated and dragging the reading pace down, Ndlovu brilliantly weaves her characters into every level as the web gets bigger and all you want to do is to keep reading.
This is a cast of characters that I want in my head where I can have them become an even more cemented part of my mind. It was impossible to not love these MCs.
Ndlovu puts such gentle and poetic strength in building, breaking, and mending her characters and their relationships that as I read, it was much too easy to become engrossed and linked to each of them and all they touched.
Whilst also rounding out a setting where societal behaviours and norms are familiar: jealousy, misogyny, toxic traits, support and love; the state tries and mostly succeeds in silencing dissidents and rebels, familial dysfunction is apparent and ignored, interactions are both meaningful and shallow, they heal and they hurt.
Ndlovu also does not shy away from certain darker aspects and circumstances that can occur in a newly independent nation and the extent of the control that the new government exercises affects the lives of the citizens and their very freedom. The sojas (soldiers) who routinely carry out exterminations on behalf of the government; the information that is collected and used to extract whatever is necessary to cement the power of the officials, but what cannot be ignored within this narrative is the depiction of love, devotion, forgiveness, and healing that is achieved by, for, and among our characters. This was truly a novel of beauty.