SUMMARY ✓ Butterfly Burning

Yvonne Vera ¿ 1 SUMMARY

SUMMARY ✓ Butterfly Burning Ô This new novel is set in township life in the 1940s its joys and sorrows freedoms and restrictions ebullience and disenchantments It tells of a young woman mysteriously orphaned but with a hidden sense of her own freedom and independence Her struggle is manifested in her happiness with an older man on the one hand and oThis new novel is set in township life in the 1940s its joys and sorrows freedoms and restrictions ebullience and disenchantments It tells of a young w. I read The Stone Virgins last year and was so impressed that I decided that this one should not be too far behind I think Vera is an important and under read writer; for a bit of background follow this link; novel is set in Bulawayo; Vera’s home town in the late 1940s It concerns a young woman called Phephelaphi who lives with an older man Fumbatha a construction worker They live in one room; concrete and asbestos Phephelaphi however is not satisfied with just being and has ambitions to be a nurse; this is beyond Fumbatha’s comprehension The language is lyrical and poetic the whole is beautifully written It could be argued that the poetic language makes some of the difficult and challenging passages less sharp However I think the poetic language adds to the power of the writing It is important not to forget that this is set within the context of colonialism and an Imperial power occupying Zimbabwe We see early on a hanging in 1896; Fumbatha’s father and the effects of this can be charted throughout the book Vera though focuses on gender because women have to fight for their own space and bodies; but there is a backdrop of a lack of employment and social cohesion Portraying the African nation as feminine is not new; as Grace Musila points out“nationalist discourses constituted the African nation as the feminine victim of an aggressive colonial master; the prostitute’s body became a convenient index for the degraded postcolonial nation”Vera is reacting against this; Phephelaphi resists the appropriation of her own body Vera is concerned in all her work about the role of women in colonial and post colonial contexts; looking at “women in the shadows” At one level we are looking at the outworking of a universal storyline A possessive man unable to allow his partner to develop and be herself for fear of losing her Vera refracts the story through the prism of colonialism This is clear from the beginning;“In the air the sound of a sickle cutting grass along the roadside where black men bend their backs in the sun and hum a tune and fume and lullaby”; and its Kwela music—”Kwela means to climb into the waiting police Jeeps This word alone has been fully adapted to do marvelous things It can carry so much than a word should be asked to carry; rejection distaste surrender envy And full desire”And in relation to the setting Bulawayo;“Bulawayo is not a city of idleness The idea is to live within the cracks Unnoticed and unnoticeable offering every service but with the capacity to vanish when the task reuired is accomplished So the black people learn how to move through the city with speed and due attention to bow their heads down and slide past walls to walk without making the shadow pronounced than the body or the body clearer than the shadow It means leaning against some masking reality—they lean on walls on lies on music”Indeed Fumbatha feels that Phephelaphi’s need for than him is a compromise with colonialism;“Fumbatha does not encourage her instead he reminds her of what they share “We are happy together I work I take care of you It is not necessary for you to find something else” He insists on her unwavering loyalty He mistrusts the city which does not understand the sort of triumph a man and a woman can find and share in their solitude Does no one know that he is willing to die on the palm of Phephelaphi’s hand”The backdrop of the rhythms of Kwela music link to the rhythms of liberation The shocking ending embodies another type of liberation There is a cathartic uality about it all and this is a powerful novel

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Oman mysteriously orphaned but with a hidden sense of her own freedom and independence Her struggle is manifested in her happiness with an older man on. Butterfly Burning is by Yvonne Vera a Zimbabwean novelist I gave this novel four stars at first but then reduced it to three because I like the novel's use of poetic language and love story but I was not enthusiastic overall about the characters The setting of the story is the black township of Makokoba during the 1940s The two main characters are Fumbatha a middle aged man who lost his father at an early age He seems to view life and all the oppression in it disinterestedly just going through the motions until he meets a pretty and lively young girl named Phephelaphi Phephelaphi too has faced tragedy at an early age She lost the only parent she knew her mother to murder But unlike Fumbatha she has not allowed life to get her down She still hopes for and looks out for many possibilities It is love at first sight for these two but as time goes on secrets and betrayal takes a toll on the relationship Some of this novel would be a slow go for those who don't care much for poetry I recommend it for people who love stories set in Africa enjoy love stories and poetic language

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Butterfly BurningThe one hand and on the other the attractiveness of other experiences But the closely woven fabric of township life has a tight mesh and reality is ha. Beautifully written Lyrical Spare and efficient writing as a poem I loved reading this book and listening to the words in my head