Tendai Huchu is a remarkable, perceptive and engaging writer This is a seemingly aimless story about Zimbabwean exiles expatriates living in Edinburgh at the beginning of the 21st century There is however nothing aimless about this story as it is brought together by the surprise at the end It is the story of three Zimbabwean men, two black and one white, struggling to come to terms with living in Edinburgh, an alien city in a cold climate It is the story of them, their families and friends, their everyday lives, and how their culture is at odds with the culture around them It is a story of assimilation and of their failure to achieve assimilation But it is also a story of Zimbabwe, of why they are here and why they cannot go back.Farai, the mathematician, who is in Edinburgh studying for a Ph.D is the most likely to settle in the city The Maestro, who is named David, is the most disconnected, losing his grasp of reality The Magistrate, who we only know as Baba Chenai Chenai s Dad or as Sekuru VaRuvarashe Ruvarashe s grandfather when Chenai has a baby, is dissatisfied with his existence, bored by the menial jobs he has in exile when he was a judge at home The events of the story bring them together, in a way which you will not foresee This is a book that will make you think about what colonialism has done to Africa, but than that, it will make you think about the nature of government, of how we relate to each other, and of our responsibility for the world in which we live.This is an extraordinary book. Revolving around three different characters, all from Zimbabwe, all far from their homeland, all facing their own challenges, their individual stories entwining as the novel progresses.Though set in Edinburgh its landmarks ingeniously mapped out by the author courtesy of the music played through The Magistrate s Walkman The Maestro, The Magistrate The Mathematician also lends itself to an insight into the politics and economics of a not too distant Zimbabwe.A very human story that isn t afraid to deal with issues both big and small For me the most memorable and perhaps poignant being the case of The Magistrate in which the reader gets to consider a man, a somebody in the land he left behind, reduced to a life of housework and menial jobs in his adopted home.Amongst the best novels about migrants and the plights that they face that I have read The only concern I have small though it may be being that the characters were each written in a very different style which though great as a means of setting them apart as individuals somehow just didn t work well for me.Copyright Tracy Terry Pen and Paper.Disclaimer Received for review from the author, no financial compensation was asked for nor given. The Maestro, the Magistrate, and the Mathematician by Tendai HuchuI received an early review copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.I really loved this book The characters and plot are swirling around in my brain and I know I will need to read this book again Now, pen to paper as I try to tame all my thoughts about this story.PLOTThe plot centers around three main characters They are transplants from Zimbabwe in Scotland and are each struggling, in their own ways, to find a way to belong The three story lines start out separately and then overlap in interesting and surprising ways The narrator s voice at first reminded me of Alexander MCCall Smith slow and rhythmic centering around word dense but interesting conversations It was so easy to just relax into the flow of this book I immediately was in touch with this moment in each character s life The book starts at a pivotal moment in time for each person and then, over the course of the book, we hear parts of their back story The ending was intriguing but I don t want to spoil it by saying CHARACTERSThis is the best sort of story in that the plot is driven by the lives and conversations of the characters As mentioned earlier, we enter the book at a pivotal point Each person has been dealing with assimilation and now they are facing personal challenges that will change their shapes and mold them powerfully We are immersed in their Zimbabwe culture as well as their new life in Scotland These two cultures bang violently against each but eventually find a way to merge This author is also very tactile with his characters They experience life viscerally For example, one character is mapping his Scottish city using music from Zimbabwe to mark each spot in his mind I did not recognize the artists but found myself mesmerized by his descriptions of the life conveyed in the songs Really rich imagery.My only complaint about the book is that the ending feels like a major change in tone However, I cannot get the ending out of my head I ve been thinking about it for two days now Does the tone shift rotate our view from Scotland to seeing things from the perspective of Zimbabwe I don t know, it just has me thinking In conclusion, the book isn t perfect The people in the book are flawed and even often unsympathetic but they are people to me Thank you for a chance to read and review this book Pemmycats The stories of three Zimbabwean men in Edinburgh is intriguing and unusual The Magistrate used to dispense justice back home Here, he cleans the toilet The Mathematician makes money and indulges himself in the belief he won t be here for long The Maestro collects shopping trollies in Tesco s car park and reads The three men s lives intersect and cross, meeting the challenges of a different culture with varying measures of success.This book is rounded, measured and smart, and anything but a miserable tale of immigrant isolation Intelligence and thought shine off the page via these layered and introspective characters Farai s casual sexism and judgemental views are offset by his willingness to engage with the old man in the caf The Magistrate s adaptation to his changed circumstances is beautifully encapsulated in his memories of the maid The Maestro s gradual retreat from the world in search of meaning in books is slow, heart breaking and completely plausible.Whilst the main characters are than enough to grip your attention, the supporting cast add still light, shade and laughter Alfonso, the rodent Del Boy alcoholic, is infuriating and hilarious at once Tatyana, the Maestro s Polish friend who would be , is alternately invasive and vulnerable One of the most powerful personalities in the book is Edinburgh itself Huchu uses the city to the full its people, its architecture, its humour.The bittersweet ending left me sorry to leave these people and this place, but curious to read by this talented, sly and unpredictable writer Tendai Huchu is one to watch. 2.5 5I get what the author was trying to do Trying to show how 3 people with roots from Zimbabwe feel out of place in Edinburgh But I don t think he was able to achieve that He was trying too hard to relate all of their problems to their detachment from their country of origin The plot was flat and the end was awful.The Maestro s story feels out of place in the book Like another story entirely added to the book So many questions I have no answer toI love his writing style though He made the narration very distinct The Maestro s narration was written like a string of consciousness poured on paper No paragraphs Dialogues were unquoted.The Magistrate s narration was a normal narration.The Mathematician s narration was almost normal except that numbers were written in figures instead of words 1 day 1 thing.This book really had a great potential but it didn t do it for me And it hurts me because it has a great potential I wish the plot was stronger and better and intense I wish it was spiced up. In trying to contextualise this book, I read a few reviews and interviews with the Author and in one of the interviews, Huchu says he doesn t really care about reviews because by the time a reader is interacting with his books, he has already moved on to other things We, the readers are living in the past and he in the present To quote himI don t hold much store by what even my closest readers have to say about my work while readers have been kind, which is heart warming, they re in the past, I ve moved onand I questioned myself on why I bothered buying and reading this book.I somewhat understand what Huchu was trying to say in this interview, but this doesn t stop it from coming off as arrogant and shallow The power of art and literature is that it transcends time Art and Literature is timeless This is why paintings by van Gogh are still priceless today despite being done in the 1800s, why we still study works by Chinua Achebe written in the 60s, heck, even the Bible is still as relevant today as it was in 1B.C For an author to hold such sentiments regarding their work is quite disappointing When you publish a book and put it out there for the world to read, it s a FOREVER contract People are going to interact with your work 10,20, 30, 40 years from now Your work will resonate with some 50 years later and to not care what people reading your work think Well, you might as well destroy your manuscripts and write in your diary You can read the interview here I feel like I shouldn t bother putting in time and effort reviewing this book but for those who are keen on reading it, my rating for the book is a 3 5 Stars.The story of the Maestro, the Magistrate the Mathematician is an ok book It tells the story of three characters as the title suggests, all from Zimbabwe and living in Edinburg, Scotland They have different motivations for being in Edinburg and they all struggle in their own ways to find their footing in this new country while still trying to remain rooted in their home country Each story strong on its own Strong enough to stand alone and can easily be read as 3 separate and different books It however becomes weak when the author attempts to make the connection and link the three stories towards the end The coming together of these three characters is inorganic, it comes out as forced and the ending was almost like a rabbit pulled out of a hat I didn t see it coming, I didn t like it, it added no value to the story really and felt like an afterthought. This was a really good book.The in depth description of the lives of these three different men was nothing short of admirable At some point, I digressed to find out how old Tendai was The extent of the Zimbabwean culture infused in the book was also very lovely As a Nigerian who s only just figuring out his own identity, this book allured me It stirred a deep appreciation of African culture, from the names to the music I longed to relate bits and pieces of myself to the characters in the book, past, future, and present.I also really loved the ending, but I have to admit it felt unresolved Some part of me attributes this to the loss I felt for Farai, but there were other things I expected Scott s political involvement to yieldsomething for him I wondered why Alfonso almost put the Magistrate at risk with Peter and the government if his mission was to get him to leadership I also generally don t expect African governments to be this advanced in their espionage, but maybe the joke s on me.I loved this book. Three Very Different Men Struggle With Thoughts Of Belonging, Loss, Identity And Love As They Attempt To Find A Place For Themselves In Britain The Magistrate Tries To Create New Memories And Roots, Fusing A Wandering Exploration Of Edinburgh With Music The Maestro, A Depressed, Quixotic Character, Sinks Out Of The Real World Into The Fantastic World Of Literature The Mathematician, Full Of Youth, Follows A Carefree, Hedonistic Lifestyle, Until Their Three Universes Collide In This Carefully Crafted, Multi Layered Novel, Tendai Huchu, With His Inimitable Humour, Reveals Much About The Zimbabwe Story As He Draws The Reader Deep Into The Lives Of The Three Main Characters I was thoroughly disappointed by this, I have to say I loved the Hairdresser and it s characters, so I was expecting something good from Huchu.What I got was a bunch of fairly useless men doing very little and to some extent waiting for women to save them Not entertaining in any way The three narrators of the title are mostly not very likeable the magistrate is okay , and that make me not care what happens to them when anything does happen, there is a lot of not happening waste of life though very verbose , maybe if this had been cut down to half the length it would have worked, and the sudden plot that turns up in the last 5 pages wouldn t have seemed like a strange attempt to twist the book into being about something other than men being lost Top marks for a rabbit out of hat surprise ending Who d have thought anything else of Alfonso The Maestro s death makes sense, what with his need for freedom and finally flying free, but the Mathematician s end makes no sense, doesn t tie into anything and feels abrupt and unplanned This book is well written with the chapter dividers as the characters separate stories that make for an interesting read All good save for the fairy tale end for the Magistrate, and rather odd end for the Mathematician.
Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Maestro, the Magistrate and the Mathematician book, this is one of the most wanted Tendai Huchu author readers around the world.
- 284 pages
- The Maestro, the Magistrate and the Mathematician
- Tendai Huchu
- 06 March 2019 Tendai Huchu