Marechera writes about his native Zimbabwe-Rhodesia with the slant on educated Africans who have been tricked into the trappings of a civilization that has no intention of granting them entrance. Some become guerrillas, others police-spies, prostitutes, drunkards, lackeys. The narrator of the title novella has undergone existence uneasily (""I don't hate being black. I'm just tired of saying it's beautiful""), and he's prey to nervous breakdown; there's more angst here, more personal-ness in the politics, than we're accustomed to in African letters. Ultimately, however, Marechera's angst works against itself in the telling: ""I began to feel those stale mornings when the cold wind writhes about purposelessly as if there was nothing but air in the gleaming casket of creation."" Too overheated by half, this style never lets up; and unless you attend closely, you won't even realize that there are nine different pieces here, a novella and eight stories--they all sound absolutely and unfortunately uniform. Some topical interest because of the author's locale, but not enough to sustain this drab collection.