The Novel starts in 2002 after a chance encounter with a stolen Marechera.
Almost every Zimbabwean writer of my generation has either worshipped or imitated Marechera at any one point. I was one of them. I was 16, reeling from the discovery of the dark foundations underpinning my relationship with the world. 16 and shocked by my place in the mother country - African at best, Zimbabwean at worst. I6; fresh out of the Zimbabwean school curriculum, free to read as I pleased:
A gang of youths follow a prostitute back to the township having watched her entertain a client in the bush. They watch as splotches and stains of semen drip down her onto the gravel as she makes her way back. Years later, one of them writes a story using her as a symbol of Rhodesia.
I was hooked.
It begins its life as ramblings. A flaming hot jigsaw puzzle. 12 of them. Short stories, I called them. 2 editors expressed interest. The one in Johannesburg wanted to read the full novel. Novel?
I sewed the 12 pieces into one, added eyes, fingernails, body hair and sent it off.
My first rejection slip. I kept it. It was poignant.
The second editor was kind. Letâ€™s call her mother. Her Readers read two of the ramblings. Very Kind. 6 months later, I sent her a cautiously revised half a novel with promises of more if she liked it.
The reader responded favourably, or so I thought. I have learnt that Readers can be subtle at times. Terms such as: I have mixed feelings about/ I am not sure whether/ If the reader were aware/ Perhaps this is an intentional hypocrisy/ I would recommendâ€¦
Obviously, a lesson in the semantics of Readers was due.