“Written while Kilgore was in prison, this haunting debut limns an idealistic graduate student’s experiences in Zimbabwe just after Robert Mugabe’s rise to power.… Kilgore has crafted an absorbing read that truly immerses readers in early 1980s Zimbabwe.”
“… More than in highlighting overlooked historical moments, the true brilliance of We Are All Zimbabweans Now lies in its dialogue. Some of Zimbabwe’s great writers have never quite been able to achieve that level of realism.… Kilgore’s ear for dialogue and sense for illuminating underlying social and political tensions give readers a sense for life in newly liberated Zimbabwe—quite an accomplishment for a writer….”
“Kilgore’s devastating and quite funny portrait of the radical expatriates gathered in Harare is all the more effective because he was presumably one of them at the time.… (P)erhaps one can read Kilgore’s moving novel as his own attempt at redemption and reconciliation.”
Los Angeles Review of Books
“Too few writers have Kilgore’s wide-angle vision. This promising first book, vividly rooted in his own experience, leaves me eager to read more by him.”
Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa
We Are All Zimbabweans Now is a political thriller set in Zimbabwe in the hopeful, early days of Robert Mugabe’s rise to power in the late 1980s. When Ben Dabney, a Wisconsin graduate student, arrives in the country, he is enamored with Mugabe and the promises of his government’s model of racial reconciliation. But as Ben begins his research and delves more deeply into his hero’s life, he finds fatal flaws. Ultimately Ben reconsiders not only his understanding of Mugabe, but his own professional and personal life.
James Kilgore brings an authentic voice to a work of youthful hope, disillusionment, and unsettling resolution.
James Kilgore is a research scholar at the Center for African Studies, University of Illinois. He grew up in California, graduating from UC Santa Barbara in 1969. Deeply immersed in the political movements of the time, Kilgore became involved with the Symbionese Liberation Army, eventually fleeing a 1975 federal explosives charge. He remained on the run for twenty-seven years. During this time underground, he lived in Zimbabwe, Australia, and South Africa, working as an educator and researcher under the pseudonym John Pape. U.S. authorities caught up with him in Cape Town in 2002. After extradition to the United States, he served six and a half years in prison. While incarcerated, Kilgore wrote We Are All Zimbabweans Now, his first novel and his first publication under his own name.
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