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  1. Book ImageHouse of Stone: A Novel

    Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

    Pulsing with wit, seduction, and dark humor, House of Stone is a masterful debut that explores the creative—and often destructive—act of history-making.

Discussion Questions

  1. Zamani desperately wants to be part of the Mlambo family and, at the same time, shed his biological lineage. In what ways do these two desires affect one another?
  2. How does Zimbabwe function as an integral character in the story?
  3. In Zamani’s mind, Bukhosi wrongs him multiple times when it comes to his father figures. Does one “wrong”—his attitude towards Abednego, Dumo’s preference for Bukhosi—outweigh the other and push Zamani to act? What other factors play into his actions?
  4. What indications do we have that Zamani is an unreliable narrator? Can the reader trust the things he says?
  5. Had Zamani returned to Bulawayo to find Uncle Fani’s house empty, would the mission he speaks of in the Prologue, “to remake the past” (p. 1), be different? Might Dumo have filled the role of a father that Zamani so craves?
  6. How does learning that Agnes’s and Abednego’s histories intersect with those of his parents fortify Zamani’s resolve to be a part of their family?
  7. Zamani spends the entire book trying to escape the phantom of his biological father. At the end of the story, he admits, “I am truly my father’s son” (p. 357). When it comes to fathers, how do nature and nurture factor into the person Zamani has become?
  8. In what ways do their pasts and secrets influence how Agnes and Abednego treat Bukhosi?
  9. As the leader of a political movement, what characteristics or loyalties does Dumo possess that Zamani fails to consider when it comes to their relationship?
  10. Does Agnes genuinely take to Zamani, or is her eventual acceptance of him more of a result of the stories she confesses to him?
  11. Is there hope for the Mlambos to reconcile? For Bukhosi to return? For them to uncover Zamani’s deceit?

About Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma grew up in Zimbabwe and lives in Houston, Texas. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including The Displaced, edited by Viet Thanh Nguyen. Her short story collection, Shadows, won the 2014 Herman Charles Bosman Prize and was longlisted for the 2014 Etisalat Prize for Literature. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and serves on the editorial advisory board and is a fiction editor at the Bare Life Review, a journal of refugee and immigrant literature based San Francisco.

Books by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma