"How all life is lived, in patches": quilting metaphors in the fiction of Yvonne Vera
Weiss, B. (eds.)
The End of Unheard Narratives: Contemporary Perspectives on Southern African Literatures.
Zimbabwean author Yvonne Vera's fiction is radical in its disruption of the conventional form of the novel. Her writing style rejects linear plot structures, consistent symbols and conventional resolutions to the narrative crisis. The textile, commonly associated with the realm of the domestic which has consumed the energies of women's lives in Africa and around the world, is a recurring presence. The textile is perhaps a particularly useful motif to consider in light of the female centred experiences of rape, abortion, infanticide, and incest which are the focus of Vera's narratives. This chapter explores the use of the quilt as a structure within Vera's fictions and argues that the fragments of cloth that appear throughout Vera's fiction can be understood as a distinct aspect of Veras textual style, a style that does not shy away from the fragmented realities her characters endure. Through fragments of cloth, Vera evokes an alternative voice which speaks in familiar, albeit disrupted, patterns.
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