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Ways of Dying: A Novel Paperback – August 1, 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 52 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Novelist and playwright Zakes Mda's Ways of Dying was a big hit in his native South Africa, where it was even adapted into a jazz opera. Toloki is a Professional Mourner, making a meager living by attending funerals in the violent city where he lives. In his ratty suit he adds "an aura of sorrow and dignity," often serving as peacemaker when fights break out. He encounters Noria, a childhood acquaintance whose son has just died, and the two renew their friendship, finding comfort in reminiscing over the harrowing events of their lives. There are shades of the absurd in Mda's darkly humorous descriptions of the crime, poverty, violence and ethnic unrest that plague the characters in this oddly affecting novel.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Writing from the heart of the new South Africa, Mda tells his country's stories through beautifully realized characters whose search for love and connection takes you up close to the black experience, past and present.Ways of Dying is set in the transitional years before the first democratic elections. Toloki has invented his job as professional mourner in a shantytown, and he finds plenty of work. The violence is horrific--by soldiers and police as well as migrant tribal groups and locals--but even after the worst massacre, where children are "necklaced" with burning tires, Toloki finds love, tenderness, and laughter with a woman from his childhood home and they build a shack together in the urban wasteland. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Picador; 1st edition (August 1, 2002)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 224 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0312420919
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0312420918
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 7.2 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5 x 0.49 x 8 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 52 ratings

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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
52 global ratings

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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 13, 2003
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Writer and Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly written story of death and love in South Africa.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on June 13, 2018