Fic­tion

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Let­tah’s Gift Gra­ham Lang, UQP, $29.95 Nearly 30 years af­ter he left Zim­babwe, then called Rhode­sia, Frank Cole re­turns to find his fam­ily’s for­mer maid so he can give her money be­queathed by his mother. It sounds sim­ple enough, but this is Lang’s jour­ney into the heart of dark­ness. For any­one who has lived in Zim­babwe this is like pick­ing at a scab. Cole is con­fronted by cor­rup­tion and in­com­pe­tence, strug­gles to over­come the hur­dles cre­ated in a place where noth­ing works (black­outs, bro­ken down cars for which there are no spares, a lack of records), peo­ple bat­tling their demons from the war, and oth­ers ter­rorised by the new rulers. Even­tu­ally Lang of­fers a salve in a mov­ing end­ing to a bru­tal, emo­tional and exquisitel­y writ­ten book. Ian Or­chard

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