Harare North Novel Summary

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Brian Chikwava’s novel Harare North was first published in 2009 by Jonathan Cape. It tells the story of a nameless Zimbabwean in his early twenties, who is also the 1st-person narrator throughout the greatest part of the novel. He comes to London, which is called “Harare North” by Zimbabweans, in order to earn money to bribe himself out of a murder charge. As a member of the Green Bombers, the graduates of the National youth service controlled by the government and president Mugabe, he committed a murder. He was then recommended by Comrade Mhiripiri to go to London, seek asylum and try to earn the equivalent of 5000$ to bribe his way out of this charge. After having been detained for eight days, he lives with his cousin Paul and his cousin’s wife Sekai in London for a while. Since he does not feel welcome there, he seeks out his old friend Shingi and moves to Brixton to live with him and other migrants. Throughout the rest of the novel, the protagonist finds himself between hard work and unemployment, poverty and money earned due to the bribery of his cousin’s wife, and hope and hopelessness. Slowly but steadily, his mind seems to disentangle and something happens to him, which has to do with his past, present and future and his respective identities. The narrative can be called a fragmented narrative, since it begins with a flashforward to a later part of the novel, contains flashbacks to the protagonist’s past and is therefore not told in a chronological order although
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