OVERRIDE

Without a Name and Under the Tongue

Yvonne Vera

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Winner of the 1997 Commonwealth Writers' Prize (Africa Region)
A Finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award

Yvonne Vera's novels chronicle the lives of Zimbabwean women with extraordinary power and beauty. Without a Name and Under the Tongue, her two earliest novels, are set in the seventies during the guerrilla war against the white government.

In Without a Name (1994), Mazvita, a young woman from the country, travels to Harare to escape the war and begin a new life. But her dreams of independence are short-lived. She begins a relationship of convenience and becomes pregnant. Destitute, she is led by fear and desperation to commit an unthinkable act.

With Under the Tongue (1996), Vera became the first Zimbabwean writer ever to deal frankly with the problem of incest that plagued the country. When Zhizha is raped by her father, a self-styled war hero, she loses all desire and ability to speak. Her relationships with her mother—jailed for killing her husband after discovering his brutal acts—and her grandmother evoke profound meditations on the nature and necessity of language and expression, and on the affinity between silence and sorrow: "A word does not rot unless it is carried in the mouth for too long, under the tongue." Under the Tongue won the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Africa Region).

BOOK EXCERPTS

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Without a Name and Under the Tongue
FOR MY MOTHER AND HER MOTHERoneHeat mauled the upturned faces.The bus was fierce red. Skin turned a violent mauve. That is how hot the day was. The faces jostled and hurried, surrounding the bus with shimmering voices. The large black wheels were yellow with gathered dust. Mud had dried in the wide grooves within the tires. Small stones looked out from the mud. Thick layers of brown earth covered the windows and the rest of the body, but the bus still shone red. It was that red. It was so stunningly red it was living.Mazvita separated herself from the waiting
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REVIEWS

Praise for Without a Name and Under the Tongue

Praise for Butterfly Burning:

"A remarkable novel . . . Vera writes gracefully, depicting with extraordinary elegance the chaos and disorder of township life, the surreal conditions of existence imposed by the colonial authority upon the residents."--Michelle Cliff, The Village Voice

"Vera makes the novel new in Africa."--Independent Extra (Zimbabwe)

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Yvonne Vera

  • Yvonne Vera was born in Bulawayo, where she is now director of the National Gallery. The author of Butterfly Burning, she received the 1997 Commonwealth Writers Prize (Africa region) for Under the Toungue.
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Available Formats and Book Details

Without a Name and Under the Tongue

Yvonne Vera

  • Trade Paperback

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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