"One of the most prolific black writers of post-apartheid South Africa, Zakes Mda, has now cast his roaming, wry and satirical eye upon the United States . . . Like its affable narrator, Cion leisurely ambles from one episode to the next. As the various strands of the novel begin to coalesce, however, it becomes clearer that, in his capacity as a professional healer, Toloki has performed an important function for the Quigley family and, by extension, the larger society that continues to neglect the tangled web of its history. The sensibility through which Toloki refracts this story embodies the spirit of ubuntu—the term so frequently invoked by Archbishop Tutu and others during South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation hearings to denote 'the universal bond of sharing that connected all humanity.' In the end, Cion strongly suggests that ubuntu may well offer a way for America to confront the ghosts of its racial past."—The Washington Post Book World
"Cion isn’t one worthwhile story; it’s at least three or four. Like the quilts that find their way into each one, the book is a pulsing history lesson . . . Like those quilts, this wide-ranging patchwork manages to retain a whole beauty because of the way Mda pulls it all together. Illustrating in his descriptions and exacting with his analysis, Mda is able to make mourner Toloki’s first year in the struggling Quigley household as unusual as the gnomes that dot the father’s garden like tomatoes. The story is as occasionally melodious as the mother’s ‘Todoloos’ and often as haunting as the sitar heard from the mother-in-law suite during dinner."—Paste magazine
Zakes Mda has received every major South African prize for his work, which includes The Heart of Redness, Ways of Dying, and She Plays with the Darkness—all published in paperback by Picador. Born in 1948, he has been a visiting professor at Yale and the University of Vermont. Mda is now a dramaturg at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg, and a professor in the Creative Writing Department at Ohio University.