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Maru Hardcover – January 1, 1971


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 127 pages
  • Publisher: McCall Pub. Co (1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0841501173
  • ISBN-13: 978-0841501171
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,344,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bessie Head, one of Africa's best known writers, was born in South Africa but spent much of her life in Botswana. She died tragically early, in 1986, leaving behind her a fine collection of literary works. Tales of Tenderness and Power was the first of her works to be published after her death, and another anthology, A Woman Alone, has also been published posthumously. Both these titles reinforce Bessie Head's literary achievements, already evident in her novels Maru, When Rain clouds Gather, The Cardinals, A Collector of Treasures, A Question of Power, and her historical account Serowe: Village of the Rain Wind, which are all available in the Heinemann African Writer Series. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By realfrrb@asu.edu on April 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
Political, romantic, and dense, what a wonderful and well-written book. I came upon this book by accident and became quite delighted with the story. The characters and the town really came alive on the pages. The imagery was beautiful and mythic. I just wish it were longer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Live2Cruise VINE VOICE on January 26, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Maru is a story about the reaches of oppression within the village of Dilepe in Botswana. It is a fascinating story which examines how oppression and prejudice are maintained, and how they might be overcome. This is accomplished against the captivating backdrop of village life; scenes are depicted in such a way that the reader can imagine themselves in the story. Overall an excellent read that provides a rich view of life in Botswana.
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Format: Paperback
Maru is a simplistic story written in a complex way. The narrative begins in the future, before quickly jumping back to the past and moving chronologically towards the end. It is a love story at its core, with a strong basis in the racism and culture of Botswana. A significant amount of thematic imagery is used, especially in regards to the characters. The couples of the book, Maru and Margaret, as opposed to Dikeledi and Moleka, both exhibit a hot vs. cold thermodynamic dichotomy that goes through the whole book. The same dichotomy is shown in the men and women, as both genders of the love square in the book contain both a hot and cold character. This imagery is ubiquitous throughout the book. There is also a strong underlying theme of classism, as Maru, our eponymous “hero,” is used to the universe being the way he wants it. When it defies him, he changes it to match his wants. The Masarwa's place in society is significantly based on Maru's feelings about them. The book is short and throws you into the world without easing you in. It definitely is a hard read for those reading from a mostly western perspective, so it can be hard to enjoy. In addition, it is written without distinct chapters and sections, leading it to be generally confusing. The themes could have been better communicated with simpler writing – Maru seems to try to be more than what it is.
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Format: Paperback
Maru is rife with commentary on the history of conflict in Africa which stems from european colonialism and the clashes between african cultures in general. Margaret Cadmore the second’s life is defined by contradiction and conflict. She is Masarwa and thus rejected by the people of the village and is even left in a ditch to die as an infant, but is taken in by a british missionary with a more colonial attitude and given a western education. The fact that she is Masarwa results in her being ostracized by her fellow students. So Margaret 2’s origins can be summed up as born a pariah, raised by an outsider and denied her birth culture in favor of a western education, and is then further persecuted by those who were raised in her birth culture. That is her life until she goes to Dilepei where she is still not accepted. WIthin Margret we see the conflict of multiple cultures which have marked African culture: the imperialistic attitude of the west towards african culture at large, and the way that the Masarwa have been marginalized in turn by other african tribes. Margaret’s story of overcoming adversity sends a powerful message about how cultural prejudice can be overcome. Even though she is just one school teacher in this one corner of the world Head still implies that through these small but fundamentally human stories are the cornerstone upon which great waves of change can be built.

Written by Molly and Michael.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The themes held in this book are truly beautiful. No one can be dissatisfied with Bessie Head’s strives for social justice and her attempts to annihilate racism, but this book is even beyond that. She makes her points about equality through an enthralling love story. The reader becomes educated about Africa, while also understanding the universal applications of righteousness in the book. Maru demonstrates the dynamics needed for a successful community, anti-anthropocentric philosophies, and shows the cruelty of indifference.

The main character Maru is deeply sensitive and is aware of his emotions, and also of the world around him. He feels the earth, the air, and the motions of life. With logic and love, Maru is able to create solutions beneficial for all. Dark thundercloud is what his name means, and it is overtly shown with his looming wisdom and powerful mind. Though despite his goodness, a balance is still needed. Moleka acts as an opposite to Maru, and so their society is able to flourish in a state of perfect equilibrium.

The book Maru dazzles the audience, and acts as a beacon of hope. Yet, with its poetic writing style, readers are able to interpret the novel for themselves and create themes beyond what I have already stated. I strongly recommend the thought provoking, and entrancing novel, Maru.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The plot of Maru is a lot easier to understand once you realize that there doesn't seem to be any deeper meaning to the words on the page. The words on the page are There is no surrealism and although you can go deeper with the plot if you choose to, it isn't neccesary. On the surface, it is just a really enjoyable book. SPOILER ALERT: There is no happy ending whatsoever in this book. Everyone goes on to live their miserable lives and it is incredibly depressing. Maru, the title character, has basically girlfriend-zone Margaret and it is not pretty. Personally, I find that Maru himself is incredibly controlling and I find it to be horried. Margaret didn't love Maru but that didn't matter to him. He had set his eyes on her and she was his prize so he deserved her, no matter whom got hurt. Maru used her love for Moleska against the both of them and it shows that Maru only cares about his need to win and his own happiness instead the happiness that Moleska, Maru, Margaret and Dikeledi so desperately crave. The characters develop throughout the plot and it is extremely interesting to watch/read. Maru has a whole is an enjoyable book and we all would recommend it.
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