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The Booker Prize 2022 #11: Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo

Unrest is spreading over Jidada. The Old Horse has fallen, the revolutionary government is replaced by a new self-proclaimed liberation force. Destiny, a goat, has returned to the country from her exile and finds herself at the centre of the revolution that breaks out and the animals struggle to define what kind of nation they want to be. Based on the recent Zimbabwean history, when Robert Mugabe was unexpectedly replaced as President after a decades long rule, Glory is a satire of power and the absurdities and injustices behind global politics.

I don’t know if it is because I read Animal Farm so recently, or because I read this as the lwwast of the Booker Prize after weeks of reading through the best of this year’s literary fiction, but Glory left me really disappointed. I struggled to finish this book and admit to skimming much of it. The animal metaphor did not work for me in this novel, it was not subtle enough. It felt like humans were simply replaced with animals when they could just as well have stayed human. What does speak for this book it its humour. Witty and fierce, Bulawayo uncovers everything that is wrong with power. The most brilliant instances was when the animals and the reader became one as part of a powerful chorus, swept up in the faith of the nation. I also enjoyed the way social media was presented in the novel, but unfortunately these engaging moments were followed by pages and pages that could just as well have been left out. Glory could have been a lot better, had it half the size.

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