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Kudos to the book that quenched my deep desire for a nourishing read

Thenjiwe Mswane’s All Gomorrahs Are The Same is a must read for anyone longing for a captivating novel that nourishes your spirit and inspires you to wonder. The themes tackled, from the epic woman's coming of age to parenting, sexuality, sexual abuse to mental health are relatable to a majority of black women.

I often go through these intense periods when I crave a great literary novel. I am uncertain as to where the feeling resides or stems from; however, somewhere deep inside the sudden book pangs begin to gnaw at me, begging me to satiate the need to read, to be mentally stimulated, and to fasten my seat belt and travel into the imaginations and experiences of authors.  

A few months ago I was struck, once again by the constant book pangs. I found myself going through my collection, hoping to find an unread book, or even perhaps any book, heaven forbid, I did not finish reading. I began to spiral into the shadows, delving head first down the metaphorical rabbit hole. My descent was indeed that dramatic and done with absolute flair. 

I could have gone to the bookstores and browsed around for something to ease my cravings. The thing is that I am quite particular. I do not want to read any book written by any author. I need authors that challenge me with their imagination and curate vocabulary that stitches together their tales in ways that leave me feeling like I am part of the tapestry. I am part of the quilt. Choosing a great book to read is a form of self-care or love. You are choosing what will nourish your brain and your thoughts. What stories will live in your mind. Choosing a good book is like choosing the correct fertilizer for plants.  So one must understand not any book would do. (For the latest book reviews, author interviews and profiles, visit the NOWinSA/Book Reader front page).

As time went by, my book cravings were becoming more unbearable. My palette wanted something specific; African literature! I got lucky as I was browsing an Instagram page for ‘copywriting business’ called Room206 Writing, where I came across a post on The Sunday Times Literary Awards 2022 longlist. This was my hallelujah moment. I googled the post and lo and behold, there was the list any book worm would greatly appreciate. There was everything I needed to expand my reading palette and quench my thirst; the famine would  soon be over! Next was to plan my reading timetable, chose the book that I would break my fast with, and to Exclusive Books I headed. 

Thenjiwe Mswane’s All Gomorrahs Are The Same, was absolutely delectable! I devoured the novel in the timeframe of two days. The story is told through the experiences of three black women protagonists.  A mother- Duduzile, who is the matriarch of the family and bread-winner. From her experiences, the reader learns where intergenerational trauma is created and rooted. Duduzile struggles and is at a loss of how to connect with her daughter, uMakhosi. 

Thenjiwe Mswane’s All ‘Gomorrahs Are The Same’ is a must read for those looking to expand their reading palette with an exquisitely multi-themed novel.

Makhosi’s story was one I found quite relatable to my own personal narrative. Without giving away the plot of the story. I comprehend the character very well, as I spent most of my formative years living in lokshini (township) yet attended ‘white’ private schools. I existed in two worlds and had to learn to adjust to the polarity of the cultures of these worlds. I very much wish that Mswane would have unpacked more on Makhosi’s traumagenics.

We then have the youngest sibling of the family, uNonhle, who is quite different from her older sister. Nonhle plays more of an observational character as she watches as her family dynamics, particularly the relationship between her mother and sister, unravel and morph into something unrecognisable to her.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading, “All Gomorrahs Are The Same!” The themes tackled, from the epic woman’s coming of age storyline to parenting, sexuality, sexual abuse and mental health, as well as addiction and loss are relatable to a majority of black women. Another aspect of the book I found tickling to me was the use of vernacular. I think that added a special connectivity to the story and to me as the reader.

A brilliant first book as I continue to plough through the list. I am quite excited to dive into my next read and I cannot wait to share my thoughts on the next novel. 

Thando Mahlangu
Thando Mahlangu
A book worm who's all about celebrating the best of African creativity, Thando Mahlangu is a lover of all things artisanal - be it contemporary art, crafts and better yet, African literature! 
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