Lettah's Gift image
2011 University of Queensland Press (UQP)

There is something miraculous, cleansing, about the rain. The smell of expectation, newness. Of hope. But then I'm reminded that the word cleansing can be anyone's metaphor. Murambatsvina. Gukurahundi. The removal of people, a different cleansing. Final solutions lurk in purity.

Graham Lang steps into the heart of modern-day Africa in this compelling story of redemption and hope. Failed writer Frank Cole can barely remember Lettah. When his family left Zimbabwe, their beloved servant was gradually forgotten. Now, forty years on, Frank has been set a mysterious task in his mother's will: he must find Lettah and deliver her bequest. What Frank finds is not the country of his childhood, but a place where memories of civil war and colonial injustice fester beneath the surface, where brutality stands for the law, where fear and farce preside. But in chaotic Bulawayo, Frank discovers life and humour among unlikely companions - friends from his youth and new acquaintances, old Rhodesians and young liberals, all those who stayed behind. As he pieces together Lettah's fate, Frank begins to see the new Zimbabwe - and himself - in the delicate chemistry between meaning and hope.

' ... uncomfortably close to some of Zimbabwe's "terrible realities", but it also provides a wonderfully reconciling sense of redemption ...' Ian McFarlane, Canberra Times

' ... a poignant, painful novel, aware of the colonial legacy behind the horrors of Zimbabwe today, yet daring to hope against hope for a better future.' The Saturday Age

' ... a brutal, emotional and exquisitely written book.' Ian Orchard, Adelaide Advertiser

' This tale of discovery and redemption, has moments of light and dark, despair and hope. It is written from a place of experience and truth.' Judith Whitfield, Newcastle Herald

'The narrator, like his name, is frank but in that nonchalant frankness, you detect a sincerity born out of his desire for a Zimbabwe whose materialisation we have all worked for ...' Tanaka Chidora, The Herald (Zimbabwe)

'... a sobering, sometimes horrifying tale steeped in the African country's tumultuous recent history. The author allows ... the reader to despair of ever tracking down Lettah, only to produce a masterful and moving twist in the final pages.' Max Oliver

Book Chapter:
Magdalena Pfalzgraf - Representations of White Zimbabwean Mobilities in Recent Anglophone Fiction: Graham Lang's Lettah's Gift (2011) and Ian Holding's Of Beasts & Beings (2011); Mobilities and Minorities in Africa, ed. Michele Carboni, Giovanni Sistu, 2018; Part III Identities and Representations

Tanaka Chidora - Out of Crisis: Discourses of Enabling Spaces in Post-2000 Zimbabwean Literary Texts in English: Lettah's Gift and the home that never was - PhD Thesis, University of the Free State, South Africa, 2017

ABC Book Show Interview, 2011: