Book Review: The Glitter Horn by Tendayi O. Chirawu
The Glitter Horn by Tendayi O. Chirawu
Thirty-something Malaika thought she’d be getting ready to move comfortably into her forties. Instead, she finds herself coming to terms with her ending marriage, single parenthood, and what a second chance at life and love could look like when a one-night stand resurfaces at this transition period in her life.
Malaika extricates herself from her painful marriage and rediscovers her self-worth and independence while starting her own small business, navigating the terrain of being a single parent and how to handle a new and unexpected love.
I wasn’t sure about this at first. Descriptions, at the start, are sparse. Scenes are almost lists of what you might expect if thrust into the main character’s (Malaika) world. I persisted because I quite often take a while to become involved in the story. I like to give myself time to settle in, and sometimes, for the usual variety of real-life reasons, this might take a couple of chapters. It’s usually worth it and was again with, Tendayi O. Chirawu's, The Glitter Horn. I was drawn further into the story with each page I turned.
Malaika is a little neurotic, uncomfortable in social situations. As she “opened up” so too did the descriptive storytelling. As I learned more about the character and the spaces she inhabited, I realised that the sparse descriptions, and almost abrupt style, were also a reflection of Malaika’s personality traits – her social awkwardness and inability to pick up on cues, her lack of confidence and battered self-esteem. As Malaika grows so too does the storytelling.
Stuck in an unhappy marriage and with a controlling, self-absorbed husband, Malaika has learned the rules of engagement in her family dynamic. She manages. And then someone comes along and completely disrupts her apple cart, opening her eyes, her heart, and her passion.
The Glitter Horn is set in France,just outside Paris. There are a few references, local idioms, I didn’t quite understand on first reading. Unfortunately, this tends to jolt the reader out of the story, but I’m not easily dissuaded, and didn’t have any trouble getting back into the flow. No doubt, if you’re more familiar with French culture than I (and I am not at all familiar), then it probably won’t be an issue.
I liked the way Malaika refers to/thinks of her husband’s relatives. “Goodness” and “Gracious” are classics, and who hasn’t come across the odd narrow-minded person quick to judge and willing to tell you about it? Chirawu’s main character has a depth of understanding and graciousness (resilience) though that allows her to see passed their faults and appreciate the better parts of their personalities.
Paxon is the character that upsets Malaika’s world-view and broadens her horizons. An American football player, he seems a little too good to be true. Chirawu rescues him from being too shallow, by hinting at deeper parts of his personality and life experience in the way he responds to Malaika and in the way that Malaika continually questions his interest in her life. For all that Malaika puts up with her abusive husband, she is a feisty woman underneath.
If you enjoy reading stories that delve into the more intricate, intimate, parts of life; stories that unpick family dysfunction, and generously allow understanding of the good and less-good parts of a person’s psyche, then I’m pretty sure you’ll be drawn into The Glitter Horn as I was.
Genre: Contemporary fiction/Romance
Print length: 260 pages
Age range: adult
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About the Author:
Tendayi is a third-culture kid and mom based in Paris who writes fiction with strong female characters and diverse people doing incredible things all over the world.
She studied Global Communications and Civil Society at the Master's level and has been working as a digital content and communications expert in the city of light since. She has written for several publications, including The Spire Newsletter, Quartz Africa, Insight Magazine, and more. She has also worked in professional proofreading and copy editing for digital content companies for over a decade.
Disclaimer: I received a .pdf version of this book with a request for an honest review, which I was more than happy to provide.