Laughing Now: New stories from Zimbabwe
Weaver Press’s previous collections of short stories, Writing Now and Writing Still, were highly praised for the quality of their prose and the imagination of their writers. They confirmed, for one reviewer, ‘the paradoxical truth that troubled societies somehow produce some of the most interesting writing available. Laughing Now goes further, and demonstrates the enduring capacity of Zimbabweans to find humour in even the most difficult of circumstances. The stories embrace funerals, dancing competitions, family tensions, rampant inflation and endless queues for scarce goods. They take a wry look at pompous politicians, foreign filmmakers and the aspirations of the so-called ‘new’ farmers. Those by Gappah, Chingono and Eppel won the first three prizes in the recent Mukuru.com short story competition. Zimbabwean fiction in English has become world-renowned in recent decades, but its concerns – war, trauma and the trials of independence – have chronicled the pain of those periods. Laughing Now suggests that we are finding new ways to reflect our reality; that however many zeros we add to the rate of inflation, and however hungry we may become, humour is as good a response as any.