BookBrowse Reviews Woman of the Ashes by David Brookshaw, Mia Couto

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Woman of the Ashes

A Sands of the Emperor Novel

by David Brookshaw, Mia Couto

Woman of the Ashes by David Brookshaw, Mia Couto X
Woman of the Ashes by David Brookshaw, Mia Couto
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2018, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 9, 2019, 272 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Natalie Vaynberg

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The first in a trilogy about the last emperor of southern Mozambique.

Mia Couto's Woman of the Ashes is the story of two people separated by the vast differences in their cultures: one, Portuguese Sergeant Germano de Melo, sent as a figurehead of colonial rule and a preserver of peace in a time of growing unrest; the other, Imani, a young girl of the VaChopi tribe who have chosen to side with the Portuguese against other local tribes. As the two build a tentative friendship, the demands of their respective responsibilities overwhelm them and the shadow of war grows ever closer.

Couto is clearly an accomplished historian. He spends a great deal of time building the setting and atmosphere of Mozambique in the 19th century, a time when Portugal was trying to colonize the African empire of Gaza (which extended across parts of modern-day Mozambique and Zimbabwe). He is also meticulous in his research on local traditions and beliefs. Many of these ...

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