Harare, Zimbabwe. A gun lost in a taxi will bind the fate of four couples - expats and locals - who will either be torn apart or brought together under its violent gravity
Harare, Zimbabwe, 2011
This is a story of five marriages and one gun.
A British couple wonder at the unknowable city beyond their guarded compound while they build walls between themselves.
An American begins to suspect his new home is having an insidious effect on his 'African queen' and their young daughter.
An enthusiastic young intellectual follows his wife and his dreams to the city and finds only disillusion.
An Intelligence Officer loses a crucial piece of evidence. It will cost him his marriage and his girlfriend; maybe even his life.
A taxi driver and his wife, living on the knife-edge of poverty, find a gun in the cab. From this point on, all their lives are tied to the trigger.
C. B. George's Zimbabwe is a personal portrait, both tender and brutal. The betrayals and conspiracies of the corrupt world are nothing compared to those of marriage; in which husband and wife love and leave, fight and flee, recant and reconcile, with outcomes that are by turns shocking, heartbreaking and, ultimately, full of hope.
C. B. George has spent many years working throughout Southern Africa. He now lives in London.
A terrific novel - absolutely compelling and chilling. A wonderfully astute and forensic blend of fact and fiction, lies and truth. — William Boyd
This is a brilliantly unsettling book; its shrewd, measured, darkly atmospheric prose describes the societal, familial and psychological conditions that make it possible to find burnt corpses in fire-proof houses. — Helen Oyeyemi
A brilliant piece of work, which takes a cleaver to Zimbabwe - splitting it wide open for all to see. Fascinating, enjoyable, compact and driving — Jesse Armstrong, writer, The Thick of It
Muscular, confident . . . C . B. George's account of that strained relationship is horribly convincing . . . As the characters stumble into each others' trajectories, the author pulls off the feat of being both forensic and forgiving — Spectator
This debut is well worth reading...George offers a range of keenly observed representations, from expatriate malaise to the sheer difficulty of poverty; his psychologies are subtle and wry, his honesties amuse as much as they wound and he displays a ventriloquist's talent for voices as various as the black American and white Zimbabwean — Literary Review
Compelling . . . Political instability registers as a quiet quake beneath the feet of ordinary people, tilting them this way and that, as they attempt to navigate everyday matters of family, love and betrayal . . . Intimate and revealing — Guardian
Book of the Year — Louise Doughty, Observer
I was fascinated by this novel. By its supple, subtle, multi-stranded narrative . . . Portraits are superbly achieved, and the text is studded with memorable observations . . . Acutely quotidian and superbly human . . . Terrific achievement — Lee Child, New York Times Book Review
Cleverly plotted, suspenseful . . . a deft commentary on the nuances of race and culture in a politically corrupt post-colonial society . . . As marriages break apart and re-form on the tides of survival in Zimbabwe, we can only speculate with horror as to which of these characters' lives will be destroyed by the presence of the gun. In this painfully resonant story we see the absurd fragility of our own humanity — Ausma Zehanat Khan, Washington Post