BOOK REVIEW: MASTER GEORGIE by BERYL BAINBRIDGE

Beryl Bainbridge is the type of author one comes across and instantly falls in love with. I had never heard of her and my reading ‘Master Georgie’ was an appointment with Fate that I never knew I was late for.

The book is an exposition of unrequited love, debased sexuality and forced patriotism all blended to form an intellectual and emotional masterpiece that stands far above contemporary literary works. It has two protagonists; Dr George Hardy a Surgeon and photography enthusiast and Myrtle the orphan whose age and surname no one really knows for sure. The two’s relationship forms the dynamics of the story and can be best described as the tale of a young girl in love with her adoptive brother who dithers on the brink of homosexuality and alcoholism. The other characters (Dr Potter the irritatingly academic geologist and Pompey Jones the handsome street urchin) serve to cushion the heavy glut of tragedy that oozes from each page.

The literary style is clean and lean. The use of words is so well placed one gets a feeling that the author wrote and re-wrote the book until the English language itself gave in to her whims. Humor is definitely not in short supply in this work of art though it will take the average reader considerable effort to glean from the novel. ‘Master Georgie’ has dispelled my previously drab notion that literature is dead and has been replaced by pulp novels with no depth and inspiration.

It is said Bainbridge herself proclaimed that the book has to be read at least three times for one to fully understand it. Perhaps she was right but to me it will take only half a reading to appreciate its sadistic beauty. I was thoroughly impressed and would recommend it to anyone who truly loves literature for literature’s sake.

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WHY TSVANGIRAI SHOULD LEAD THE COALITION

A coalition of all opposition parties in Zimbabwe is as utopian as a nonagenarian winning an election to rule a country he has personally destroyed. Zimbabwe has over the years evolved into a nation of ‘shocks’. A nation that is always writing on the pages of world history. Mugabe and ZANU-PF have consistently resembled Hitler and the Nazi Party. A detailed comparison of the two regimes is so elaborate it qualifies as a thesis for a manual on how NOT to run a country.

Mugabe has from the outset been aggressive in his rhetoric and resolve. He has ploughed himself into power all the while digging deeper to cement his roots. ZANU-PF has become a huge baobab tree whose roots and trunk will take a long and hard fight to destroy. This is where Tsvangirai comes in.

The man is an icon who has been chipping away at the giant tree long before people even realised the tree had to be cut. He started his journey in the late 80’s and has never looked back. None of the opposition party leaders come even close in political endurance and tenacity. He has been tried and tested. He has been consistent and resolute. His moral integrity has matured as the nation’s rot has also matured. Chematama has evolved into Save. The man who was full of energy has become the political sage oozing wisdom.

Joice Mujuru, the other likely coalition leader, does not even come close to her ally’s resume. She falls short on so many yardsticks of a democratic leader to the effect that she cannot be trusted. Every Zimbabwean citizen has put up a brave but silent fight over the hard years and it is only natural that we make the imminent transition led by a leader we trust and respect.

The 2018 elections are as crucial as the 2008 elections. The atmosphere is the same, the abundance of hope is similar and even the confusion can be paralleled. Next year’s harmonised elections are as unique an opportunity for a revolution as those we won ,exact to the date, a decade ago. It will take an exception leader to lead this monumental task and Tsvangirai’s resume is the only one that makes him worth hiring.

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