A novel about a character from Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "The Color Purple". This is Tashi's story, a shattering account of a young African woman whose decision to go through the female initiation ceremony has terrible consequences.
When Alice Walker finished writing "The Colour Purple" she realised that she needed to tell the story of Tashi, a minor character, who had 'left Africa but had taken her wound with her to America'.This is Tashi's story, told in her words and the voices of the people who loved her. This extraordinarily courageous and compelling novel explores the tragic consequences of Tashi's decision to go through the female initiation ceremony.
Alice Walker is the author of seven novels, including Pulitzer Prize winnner The Color Purple, The Third Life of Grange Copeland and Now is the Time to Open Your Heart; three collections of short stories, In Love & Trouble, You Can't Keep A Good Woman Down and The Way Forward is with a Broken Heart; as well as eight volumes of poetry. Alice Walker lives in Northern California.
"Like The Color Purple, this novel packs an enormous emotional punch... A direct challenge to the times we live in" Guardian "A true confrontation with the hearts of darkness, this is masterful, honourable, and unforgettable storytelling" Cosmopolitan "Walker's delicate narrative gifts have never been better displayed, her depiction of the unbearable never so unflinchingly believable" Daily Telegraph
Here and there tantalizing remnants of the writing that made The Color Purple such a critical success, but for the most part Walker's latest is held hostage to an agenda - the eradication of female circumcision in Africa and the Middle East - a cause to which she will be contributing a portion of the royalties. A range of voices, including husband Adam, son Benny, and the character Tashi herself, tell the story of the Olinka girl who made a brief appearance in The Color Purple. Married to Adam, the young African-American missionary who took her back to the US, Tashi has suffered intermittent periods of madness since she was brutally circumcised as an adolescent in a remote guerrilla camp in Africa. It's a madness that has required hospitalization and treatment by a range of analysts, including the great Jung, who puts in a cameo appearance here. Though her older sister had bled to death from the effects of the operation, Tashi chose to have it done because she felt it would make her "...completely woman. Completely Africa. Completely Olinka." The operation also was responsible for a difficult delivery in which her son Benny was brain-damaged. Helped by therapy, her grief turns to anger: she returns to Africa and murders the old woman who performed the operation. Sentenced to death, Tashi, who feels neither guilt nor fear of death, is finally at peace because an anthropologist tells her about the mythic causes of the practice: the early African woman, "the mother of womankind," was "notoriously free" of both sexual guilt and circumcision; invading tribes and Arabs were responsible for its imposition. Dying, Tashi finally possesses the "secret of joy": the resistance to what is evil. A pastiche of New Age mysticism, dubious history, and feminist ideology tied to a storyline that points a moral, heavily underlined, rather than one that grows out of a tale. Female circumcision is a terrible travesty, but neither it nor Walker's talent is well served by this overwrought novel. (Kirkus Reviews)
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