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Digging Stars

A Novel

by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

Digging Stars by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma X
Digging Stars by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma
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  • Patricia G. (Washington, DC)
    Beautiful coming of age story--and so much more
    Digging Stars is a beautifully written novel about a girl leaving her childhood in Zimbabwe, and moving to the United States, following the steps of her father. Frank was a genius in ethno-astrology, and Rosa has inherited his intelligence and his love of the stars. Frank is mysteriously killed when Rosa is young, and a mysterious friend of his stays in touch with Rosa throughout her childhood. Frank was part of what Rosa knows as "The Program", and Rosa is accepted into this world after college. She tumbles into friendships with a number of other incredibly talented people, also in The Program, including the son of her father's girlfriend from New York. All of the characters are well written, and at times laugh out loud funny. Rosa struggles but perseveres as she tries to assimilate into her new life. I highly recommend this book.

    The passages about how Rosa feels when she is looking at the stars are absolutely poetic and breathtaking. I read each of these passages several times over. I also spent several hours researching the stars and constellations Tshuma refers to in the book, and reading up on ethno-astrology (which was completely new to me).

    I wish the book was a bit longer, since Tshuma left several major questions unanswered, and I would love to know how Rosa and her friends turn out. This is Tshuma's second novel—the first, House of Stone, is currently sitting on my TBR pile.
  • Nicole S. (St. Paul, MN)
    This book transports you into the heartache of a father daughter relationship that is as layered as the sky they both love. This relationship existed against a backdrop of the peculiarities of being an immigrant in America. Rosa's search provides heart break, answers, more questions all the while keeping the reader fully immersed.
  • Stephanie K. (Glendale, AZ)
    A Young Woman Searches for Her Father and Herself
    From bespangled Saharan nights to frozen Manhattan days, Rosa's life is, in essence, a search for her father. While she does indeed know his real identity and goes to visit him, his life with a new wife and son is a mystery to her. In the midst of devoting herself to her father's beloved Bantu geometries and Indigenous astronomies as her life's work, she encounters obstacles in dealing with his puzzling current life and personality. Rosa comes to understand herself first, and only much later--after his death--does she truly comprehend what her father's career and life actually encompassed. As with all of us, she discovers the good and bad, positive and negative, in her family's history and in herself, learning and evolving along the way even when she doesn't mean to. A coming-of-age novel, it demonstrates the tricks and traps of growing up between two very distinct cultures and families.
  • Gloria M. (San Jose, CA)
    Buy This Book!!
    "Digging Stars" checks off everything I want in a work of fiction! Compelling characters! A story that holds my interest from page one! Intellectual elements including lots of science and history! Drama! Love!

    The author, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma deftly weaves words into an intricate narrative that instantly captures your mind and your heart. We first meet Athandwa when she is a child of eleven and we follow her into her early twenties. We join her in her journey from Zimbabwe to America, as she grows and learns and desires and struggles, and finally faces reality and the truth of the illusions she has clung to thus far in her life. The supporting cast is diverse and I choose not to reveal more than the bare minimum of details because the personalities and events deserve to be discovered like valuable hidden treasure by you, the reader!!

    We learn about the horrors and slings and arrows humans can inflict upon one another and also the hopes of the current generation to surmount our past mistakes. I was so sorry to turn the last page and close this book. I wish it could have been longer. I am hoping for a sequel! I look forward to reading more by Tshuma and I thank Book Browse for introducing me to a writer I might never have discovered on my own.
  • Beverly J. (Waldorf, MD)
    Resonant and Finely Observed
    A delicately but very nuanced written novel exploring a father/daughter relationship, personal and national identities, and Bantu geometries/indigenous astronomies.

    When Athandwa Rosa Siziba is born, her father lives Zimbabwe to further his studies of the Cosmos and then being accepted into the prestigious yet secretive "Program". Athandwa grew up idolizing her father and when he mysteriously dies becomes committed to finishing his research and to find out the truth behind his death which has caused her panic attacks. Her hard work and dreams are realized she is accepted into the "Program" and moves to the United States.

    The strength of this book is the compelling characters whose realistic portrayals allow for the multi-storylines to be seamlessly integrated into a compelling and genius tale.

    I especially appreciate the inclusion of the subject of Bantu geometrics and Indigenous astronomies as too often we so easily dismissive of non-Western cultures.

    Once again, Tshuma offers up her special storytelling skills.
  • Sharon D. (Alexandria, VA)
    A Lovely Read
    I thought this book was quite lovely. While it was slightly slow for me initially, the character development was quite good. I soon found myself invested in the main character of Rosa and her journey of navigating young adulthood and the relationships in her life. Many of the passages as Rosa struggles to work through her "terrors" and to find some answers regarding her late father and his life are so beautifully written. On more than one occasion I reread several of these passages to savor and enjoy. The book also was fascinating in introducing me to subject matters that were somewhat foreign to me though at times some of them did lose my interest a bit. Overall, I enjoyed this book and would recommend to colleagues. I also think it would be a worthy book club selection.
  • WDH - Kentucky
    Open to Exploration
    The author is a good writer and outlined her characters and their lives/interests well. Overall, I enjoyed the book. It put astronomy and certain college programs in a different 'food for thought' light for me. The father/daughter relationship was a bit sad with both physical and emotional distance between them during periods of their lives. Not sure if this will make sense, but at times I found the book both interesting and boring. Descriptions would seem interesting at first and then my interest would wane a bit amidst the details. I do plan to share the title with friends and will watch for other titles by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma.
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