The Theory of Flight
Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu
“This transcendent and powerful testament to the indomitable human spirit is not to be missed.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review
As Imogen Zula Nyoni, aka Genie, lies in a coma at Mater Dei Hospital after having suffered through a long illness, her family and friends struggle to come to terms with her impending death. This is the story of Genie, who has gifts that transcend time and space. It is also the story of her forebears – Baines Tikiti, who, because of his wanderlust, changed his name and ended up walking into the Indian Ocean; his son, Livingstone Stanley Tikiti, who, during the war, took as his nom de guerre Golide Gumede and who became obsessed with flight; and Golide’s wife, Elizabeth Nyoni, a country-and-western singer self-styled after Dolly Parton, blonde wig and all. With the lightest of touches, and with an overlay of magical-realist beauty, this novel sketches, through the lives of a few families and the fate of a single patch of ground, decades of national history (a country in Southern Africa that is never named) – from colonial occupation through the freedom struggle, to the devastation wrought by the sojas, the HIV virus, and The Man Himself. At turns mysterious and magical, but always honest, The Theory of Flight explores the many ways we lose those we love before they die.
"A triumphant story told in a magical way." - LitNet (South Africa) "Ndlovu's deeply moving and complex novel is astonishing for the amount of hope it evokes despite the darkness that's so pervasive in Genie's world, where she creates her own reality in order survive. This transcendent and powerful testament to the indomitable human spirit is not to be missed." - Publishers Weekly, starred review "With the lightest of touches, a cast of unforgettable characters, and moments of surreal beauty, The Theory of Flight sketches decades of history in this unnamed Southern African nation. It does not dwell on what has been lost in its war, but on the daily triumphs of its people, the necessity of art, and the power of its visionaries to take flight." - Tropics Magazine "There is an ethereal enchantment that the prose brings to the tumultuous history of this unnamed country." - The Millions The Theory of Flight is a beautifully told narrative, memorable and innovative, and a skillfully structured novel. [...] The fact that this is a work of nearly ten years in the making manifests in its maturity of vision and execution, despite this being Ndlovu's first novel" - LItnet
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