This Mournable Body

Blake Morrison writes:

E arly on​ in This Mournable Body, a skimpily dressed woman in ‘sky-high heels’ falls backwards onto muddy ground while trying to climb into a crowded Harare minibus. Nobody comes to her aid. Instead, she’s jeered at. Her offence is hubris, or what the crowd takes to be hubris: ‘Who does she think she is? Let her have it.’ Objects are thrown, misogynistic insults shouted; the dress is ripped from her body. In the middle of the attack, the woman spots Tambudzai – Tambu – the novel’s central character, who lives in the same rundown hostel as her and from whose perspective the events are being described. She pleads for help, but Tambu looks away. It’s left to the driver to come to the rescue. The most Tambu does is drop the stone she was preparing to throw.

(LRB 26 Apr 2020)

Other Titles of Interest