The Cry of the Go-away Bird, By Andrea Eames


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The Independent Culture

Elsie loves the farm that is her home; there is always tea in the silver teapot, the gin and tonics on the veranda. But growing up a white teenager in post-independence Zimbabwe poses some serious dilemmas.

When Mugabe-sponsored war veterans begin to appropriate land, relations between black and white, servant and master, Rhodies and British settlers, become ever more tense.

In this assured debut novel, Eames draws on her own interrupted childhood - her family moved to New Zealand when she was 17 - to paint an authentic portrait of a nation on the edge.

Like any number of memoirs of African childhood, the politics are overshadowed by the author's powerful attachment to the continent itself.