The House of Hunger by Dambudzo Marechera

This is the first published book by Marechera at the young age of 26 that often reads as an autobiographical work of the author. The book follows the protagonists in his brutal environment that is Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe) under Ian Smith.

One question that the reader may ask themselves repeatedly is ‘Why was this book written?’. Marechera is one of those authors who questions everything about himself and in turn he makes the reader question everything. Liberatingly or frustratingly, depending on what kind of reader you are, he does not offer any solutions to the questions he raises. It has been suggested that Marechera did not write with any audience in mind, and in this way his book is for everyone and no one at the same time which may be reason for the confusion because it is difficult to locate yourself as a reader.

However, more than just confusion the book offers many insights into the violence of the colonial system and the Unilateral Declaration of Independence signed in 1965 (not to be confused with the Independence of Zimbabwe in 1980).