The Rise of Petina Gappah

In a previous post I shared what search engine terms people used to get to my literary blog Moments in Literature, the terms that drive traffic. Usually, some of them are random terms that have to do with literature, Africa, Zimbabwe, and so on. Once in a while, though, the terms are really interesting; for instance, the ones from yesterday, December 14. I will list them here:

charles chirikure türkiye
poetry reading
memory chirere
the rise of petina gappah
definition of poetry by different poets

Two of the above attracted my attention: someone was looking for Memory Chirere (and they better!) and then someone was thinking of the “rise of Petina Gappah” (you know she is rising). I was prompted to make a search for this rise and here, in part, is what I found:

Petina Gappah | Contributors | GrantaApr 22, 2008 … Granta 103: The Rise of the British Jihad was published in Autumn … Petina Gappah is a Zimbabwean writer and lawyer who lives in Geneva. …
http://www.granta.com/Contributors/Petina-Gappah – 20k – Cached – Similar pages –
Petina Gappah | Contributors | GrantaPetina Gappah. … Granta 103: The Rise of the British Jihad was published in Autumn 2008. … Posts by Petina Gappah. There was 1 post found. …
http://www.granta.com/Contributors/Petina-Gappah?view=contributorAllBlogPosts – 19k – Cached – Similar pages –
More results from http://www.granta.com »
WEALTH OF IDEAS: Watching Petina GappahWatching Petina Gappah. We have been advised by The Africa Report, … Cosmas Mairos, a Poet on the Rise · Marechera Celebration: Call for Contributions …
vasigauke.blogspot.com/2008/11/watching-petina-gappah.html – 81k – Cached – Similar pages –

You will be taken to all the different contributions Petina has made to magazines like Granta, and if you keep going, you will see information about Elegy for Easterly, some of which I am going to share here:
This is the Amazon store front with information to order the book. They have a product description too:

“Petina Gappah is the voice of Zimbabwe. In this astonishingly powerful debut collection, she dissects with real poignancy the lives of people caught up in a situation over which they have no control, as they deal with spiralling inflation, power cuts and financial hardship – a way of life under Mugabe’s regime – and cope with issues common to all people everywhere; failed promises, disappointments and unfulfilled dreams. Compelling, unflinching and tender, “An Elegy for Easterly” is a defining book, and a stunning portrait of a country in chaotic meltdown.”

The other one I liked is by the publisher of the US edition of the book, FSG:

A N E L E G Y F O R E A S T E R LY
Stories

S E T I N T H E C H A O S A N D C O N F U S I O N
O F E V E R Y D AY L I F E I N Z I M B A B W E , A
D E B U T C O L L E C T I O N F U L L O F V E R V E ,
W I T, A N D C O M PA S S I O N

They had a detailed summary of the book:

A woman in a township in Zimbabwe is surrounded by throngs of dusty children but longs for a baby of her own; an old man finds that his new job making coffins at No Matter Funeral Parlor brings unexpected riches; a politician’s widow quietly stands by at her husband’s funeral watching his colleagues bury an empty casket. Petina Gappah’s characters may have ordinary hopes and dreams, but they are living in a world where a loaf of bread costs half a million dollars; where wives can’t trust even their husbands for fear of AIDS; and where people know exactly what will be printed in the newspapers because the news is always, always good. In her spirited debut collection, the Zimbabwean author Petina Gappah brings us the resilience and inventiveness of the people who struggle to live under Robert Mugabe’s regime. She takes us across the city of Harare from the townships beset by power cuts to the manicured lawns of privilege and corruption, where wealthy husbands keep their first wives in the “big houses” while their second wives wait in the “small houses,” hoping for a promotion. Despite their circumstances, the characters in An Elegy for
Easterly are more than victims; they are all too human, with as much capacity to inflict pain as to endure it. They struggle with larger issues common to all people everywhere: failed promises, unfulfilled dreams, and the yearning for something to anchor them to life.

All this information from a search engine term from my blog; keep searching folks!