African Laughter: Four Visits to Zimbabwe

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African Laughter: Four Visits to Zimbabwe

By Doris Lessing
HarperCollins, 1992
442 pp. $25.00
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This finely crafted memoir by one of Africa's best-known writers recounts the author's observations during visits to her homeland in the 1980s, after a quarter-century of exile. Her engaging commentary spans the spectrum of social, political and environmental transformations in progress, and is interwoven with the evocation of times past: memories of a childhood spent in the outdoors, of the effects of the Zimbabwean bush war in the 1970s, and of the colonial mindset and its post-independence echoes. Yesterday's wisdom, she reminds us, is today's anachronism: "It might be useful to wonder which of the idealisms that make our hearts beat faster will seem wrong-headed to people a hundred years from now."