As Imogen Zula Nyoni, aka Genie, lies in a coma in hospital after a long illness, her family and friends struggle to come to terms with her impending death.
Genie has gifts that transcend time and space, and this is her story. It is also the story of her forebears – Baines Tikiti, who, because of his wanderlust, changed his name and ended up walking into the Indian Ocean; his son, Livingstone Stanley Tikiti, who, during the war, took as his nom de guerre Golide Gumede and who became obsessed with flight; and Golide’s wife, Elizabeth Nyoni, a country-and-western singer self-styled after Dolly Parton, blonde wig and all.
With the lightest of touches, and with an overlay of magical-realist beauty, this novel sketches, through the lives of a few families and the fate of a single patch of ground, decades of national history – from colonial occupation to the freedom struggle, to the devastation wrought by the sojas, the hi virus, and The Man Himself. By turns mysterious and magical, but always honest, The Theory Of Flight dwells not on what was lost and what went wrong in a nation’s history, but on the personal triumphs and why they matter.
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