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The Maestro, the Magistrate and the Mathematician

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3.44  ·  Rating details ·  149 ratings  ·  33 reviews
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 M ...more
Paperback, 284 pages
Published December 1st 2014 by Amabooks Publishers
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3.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  149 ratings  ·  33 reviews


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Bookish Indulgenges with b00k r3vi3ws
I have to get a disclaimer out of the way at the very beginning. The author, Tendai Huchu, has a very special place in my heart as he was the first author to trust me with his book when I was just starting out with my blog about three years back. But I will try to be fair and impartial with my review.

I had thoroughly enjoyed Mr.Huchu’s first two works of fiction – An Untimely Love and The Hairdresser of Harare – especially the second one. So I was equal parts excited and equal parts nervous to p
...more
David Kenvyn
Mar 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
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, ...more
Pammycats
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Maestro, the Magistrate, and the Mathematician by Tendai Huchu
I 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.
PLOT
The 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
...more
Bookmuseuk
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
...more
Felicity Terry
Apr 10, 2015 rated it liked it
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'
...more
Muthoni Muiruri
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 him “I 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 t
...more
Opemipo Aikomo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Azeeza
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anetq
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 (th
...more
Carolyne Gathuru
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Math ...more
Isla Scott
This was an interesting read. I liked the mention of various parts of Edinburgh, which isn't far from where I live and I found it interesting to read about the African immigrants - I can't say I know that much about Africa but the clash of cultures intrigued me. Its an interesting read, although I admit that the many pages of unformatted text did put me off, i.e. the big, blocky, long almost never ending paragraphs of text.
Liz
Nov 19, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
This is a very different book from the engaging Hairdresser of Harare. The first chapter is from the point of view of ‘the Magistrate’, a reasonably sympathetic character but nothing really happens. Viewpoint then switches to a student. This is well done with a change of language and subject matter but I didn’t take to the student and decided not to read any further.
Mish Middelmann
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Angry. Sad. Hopeless. Young exiled Zimbabwean men in the UK in a downward spiral, bereft of meaning, dragged even further down by the rogue Zimbabwean state's tentacles. Older exiles still connecting to earth and sky and finding some balance through that.

Overall I felt disappointed, it felt wordy, there was a blurring of humour and caricature and outrage that didn't work for me.
Wim
Dec 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-fiction
Though I had some difficulty at getting into the story, I eventually got carried away by the different characters that all live their situation of being Zimbabwean immigrants in Edinburgh in their own way.
The book is nicely written, full of Shona and Scottish culture and expressions, and contains some unexpected turns.
Carlton
Tough start, great ending!

It takes time and effort to come to know, of care about the three main protagonists. By the time you do, the side characters strain the show.
Gill
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book that bumbles along pleasantly... with an ending that I really couldn't have predicted at all! Excellent.
Cherop
This is the first novel I've read by Tendai Huchu. I enjoyed it a lot and will look for other books by the author.
JJ Marsh
May 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
...more
George
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary-fiction
I think Tendai Huchu’s a bit of a genius.

This is the first novel I’ve read by Mr Huchu, though I had read two of his short stories (one appeared in a literary magazine I help edit). This novel is a rare beast: literary fiction that takes new risks, that feels very fresh. The risks are not overpowering, but they are there and noticeable, and they add to the reading experience: risks in form, expression, and plot direction. He seemingly writes without fear. For me, all the risks panned-out.

The end
...more
Tiah
May 04, 2015 added it
Interview with the author: http://shortstorydayafrica.org/news/i...

Quotes:
- The tat came before the rat, though the a-tat remained in pretty much the same place, producing a distorted, yet familiar sound, but the Alfonso Pfukuto, the knocker, was an ambiguous man. -

- This book, Boethius; masterpiece written when he was in prison, was one of those favourite texts he returned to time and again, hoping with each reading to unlearn the last and discover it anew. -

- The natives gave directions usin
...more
gwayle
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of all the books I read about or set in Edinburgh for my first trip there (see my Scotland shelf if you're curious), this one was my favorite. It follows three Zimbabwean immigrants: a middle-aged former magistrate who left the country for political reasons and is now working as a health aide and struggling with how the move has affected his marriage and his teenage daughter’s upbringing; a hip young mathematician getting his PhD and writing his thesis about how some politicians exploit situatio ...more
Wade
Jul 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An intriguingly complex book about a variety of Zimbabweans living in Edinburgh.
The novel tracks the experiences primarily of three men of different circumstances, the the various people connected with them. What starts as a rather straightforward stroll through their lives turns into, at different times: a political intrigue, a descent into madness, explorations of existential angst from multiple angles, a social commentary on youth, a postmodern romance, and a family drama. The author blends e
...more
Durre
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After the success of his debut, The Hairdresser of Harare (2010), Tendai Huchu’s second novel, The Maestro, The Magistrate and The Mathematician is a cleverly written, multi-layered narrative about the lives of three Zimbabwean men residing in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is set in the early-to-mid 2000s, with its characters following the political unrest in Zimbabwe under the Mugabe Regime, all the while mapping out new lives in Edinburgh.

The chapters alternatively follow each character’s story; thr
...more
Iain
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An important and powerful book set within the Zimbabwean diaspora in Edinburgh. The Mathematician is a numerical wizard and playboy doing his PhD on hyperinflation. The Magistrate is no longer a respected member of the judiciary. Where once he had maids, now he cleans up after others in a care home. The Maestro's existential crisis quickens, unravelling his mind. As their paths cross in the twisting Edinburgh streets, the churches and hospitals tragedy and betrayal are never far away.

Migration c
...more
Cheryl
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved Tendai Huchu's debut novel, The Hairdresser of Harare (which I also reviewed), which gave a great insight into life in the vibrant capital city of Zimbabwe and introduced us to some hilarious, endearing and memorable characters.



The Maestro, The Magistrate & The Mathematician sticks with the Zimbabwean characters that the author knows so well but follows the trials and tribulations of the three unconnected men in their new lives in Edinburgh. Maybe it is a result of the grey skies and
...more
Dami Ajayi
Jul 31, 2015 rated it liked it
"This book deals with Zimbabwe, but Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, in Edinburgh, Scotland, where the author himself currently resides. Through the eyes of three characters, who collectively lend their monikers to the book title, the immigrant experience is explored once again. The life of immigrants has been a fascinating topic for black writers from Samuel Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners down to Teju Cole’s Open City."

Continue here, http://wawabookreview.com/2015/07/24/...
Rosemary Blake
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting

A pleasure to read (observations on small details that anchor you to the place). Interesting to share a cultural situation that I haven't experienced. Deep, there is a lot of food for thought in this book - allegories to be identified. But irritating when the author seems to divert into a brief essay on, for instance, musical influences. Jumps around a bit between characters.
Sansriti Tripathi
Honestly LOVED this novel - Tendai Huchu does a wonderful job capturing the three men's different backgrounds and tones. The Magistrate's sections are a great mix of thoughtful, depressing, and uplifting. The Mathematician's are incredibly humorous, and the Maestro's provide the bulk of the novel's philosophical musings.
R
Mar 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I dunno what really to rate this book. There should be more than five stars so I can give a more balanced rating. Or more -- books should never be rated!!! Who knows, whatever. I like the voices, but some get tedious. It is beautiful and funny but also exhausting. The end is a little much for me, but I get it. I think this book should have been shorter.
Alpha Lewis
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Book focuses on three very different character acclimating to a new society. Fun read with interesting character development; I liked how they all eventually converge. The ending was unexpected, as a fan of conspiracy theories and global espionage, I enjoyed it.
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