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The First Wife: A Tale of Polygamy
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message 1: by Diane, Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 4 stars

message 2: by Diane, Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane | 12845 comments About the Book (from the publisher)

After twenty years of marriage, Rami discovers that her husband has been living a double–or rather, a quintuple–life. Tony, a senior police officer in Maputo, has apparently been supporting four other families for many years. Rami remains calm in the face of her husband’s duplicity and plots to make an honest man out of him. After Tony is forced to marry the four other women–as well as an additional lover–according to polygamist custom, the rival lovers join together to declare their voices and demand their rights. In this brilliantly funny and feverishly scathing critique, a major work from Mozambique’s first published female novelist, Paulina Chiziane explores her country’s traditional culture, its values and hypocrisy, and the subjection of women the world over.

About the Author

Chiziane was the first woman in Mozambique to publish a novel. Her writing has generated some polemical discussions about social issues, such as the practice of polygamy in the country. Related to her active involvement in the politics of Frelimo (Liberation Front of Mozambique), her narrative often reflects the social uneasiness of a country ravaged and divided by the war of liberation and the civil conflicts that followed independence.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I read a review that complained that there was very little action and lots of thought and stewing after those actions. Not a problem for me at all. When Rami went from anger at the other women to acceptance and even befriending and championing them, I wondered what the other women thought about her changes. Just in time, the next chapter explored that. The language was poetic. I wonder what the original Portuguese was like.

George P. | 61 comments Our county has 1 copy of this in the library system, so I was able to borrow it easily. I have read nearly half of it so far. Though it has a lot of pages, they're small, not so many words per page and it reads fairly quickly so is more like a 300 page book.
I think it borders on being a little tedious at times, then some event happens in the story to keep me interested, so I think I'll be able to finish it in a couple weeks more. It's late so I'll say more about it another day.

Calzean | 749 comments I thought this was a great book especially for this Good Reads Group. A feminist author from Mozambique. A tale of traditions, the role of sex in the various ethnic groups, the slow modernisation and emancipation of women, the stain of feeling less of a person than a man, what women can achieve, the resilience of many abused women and the thoughts of a man in a society which allows him to be the undisputed rule of women. Truly a fascinating cultural trip.

message 6: by Diane, Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane | 12845 comments I enjoyed this. I was surprised to learn about the customs widows had to endure, particularly having to sleep with or marry the deceased husband's brother.

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