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Ways of Dying [Paperback]

Zakes Mda


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Book Description

December 1995 Southern African Writing
Written in the style of "magic realism," this tragic-comic contemporary novel is set against the backdrops of shabby but vibrant city slums and a rural South African community. The story's hero, Toloki, is an eccentric yet dignified professional mourner whose different worlds are reconciled, amid an atmosphere charged with bizarre realism, when he finds love and makes peace with his past.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 199 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr (T) (December 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195711068
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195711066
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.1 x 21.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #882,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Novelist and playwright Zakes Mda's Ways of Dying was a big hit in his native South Africa, where it was even adapted into a jazz opera. Toloki is a Professional Mourner, making a meager living by attending funerals in the violent city where he lives. In his ratty suit he adds "an aura of sorrow and dignity," often serving as peacemaker when fights break out. He encounters Noria, a childhood acquaintance whose son has just died, and the two renew their friendship, finding comfort in reminiscing over the harrowing events of their lives. There are shades of the absurd in Mda's darkly humorous descriptions of the crime, poverty, violence and ethnic unrest that plague the characters in this oddly affecting novel.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Booklist

Writing from the heart of the new South Africa, Mda tells his country's stories through beautifully realized characters whose search for love and connection takes you up close to the black experience, past and present.Ways of Dying is set in the transitional years before the first democratic elections. Toloki has invented his job as professional mourner in a shantytown, and he finds plenty of work. The violence is horrific--by soldiers and police as well as migrant tribal groups and locals--but even after the worst massacre, where children are "necklaced" with burning tires, Toloki finds love, tenderness, and laughter with a woman from his childhood home and they build a shack together in the urban wasteland. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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