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John Eppel

Publication Year: 2008

It is New Year in Bulawayo, and anybody who is anybody is out celebrating. Hatchings, with an introduction by Khombe Mangwanda, was chosen by Professor Anthony Chennells in the Times Literary Supplement as his choice for the most significant book to have come out of Africa. "The story is simple. In a sentence it can be described as a love story centered on a young couple who discover the true power of love amid the social, economic and moral decay that threatens to swallow their love and everything else. But to say Hatchings is merely a love story would be criminal. It is more than that. Hatchings is a story about Bulawayo, about Zimbabwe, about corruption and cultural decay. In Hatchings John Eppel spares no one. With his sharp and yet witty pen he exposes corruption and pokes fun at those that are abusing power and this means literally everyone. Rich, poor, white, black , Indian, foreigner or local." - Raisedon Baya, Sunday News, Zimbabwe

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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In John Eppel’s Hatchings, gone is the narrative of the Rhodesian nation of Eppel’s first novel The Great North Road. Gone too is the distance that separated white ‘Rhodies’ from the ‘natives’. More representative of the nation, the characters in this novel are from all races and walks of life. Hatchings is also different from The Great North Road in that Eppel presents...

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Chapter One

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pp. 1-9

Elizabeth Fawkes was turning sixteen. She was going into her Lower Sixth year at a co-ed private school called Black Rhino High. She was a scholarship case.
Initially, the Board who started the school wanted to call it White Rhino High but the Ministry of Education, according to Board Member and garage owner, Strontium Twot, accused them of racism. This was in 1986, when the...

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Chapter Two

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pp. 10-15

Boland Lipp was celebrating his fiftieth birthday by leaving his pupils’ exercise books in the back of his 1967 VW Beetle, by unplugging the telephone and by listening to excerpts from Bach’s Matthäus Passion. He was sipping, savouring, neat scotch - Dimple Haig - from the modified skull of a large rodent: probably a porcupine. Jesus was singing: “Ihr habet allezeit...

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Chapter Three

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pp. 16-24

Rudolph McMackmack had eyes like catherine wheels. His wife, Doef, was a frequent folder, in public places, of thighs so fat and dimpled that if you were sitting opposite her at a cocktail party, say, and she used the hem of her dress - a mustard coloured crimplene, very likely - to clean her spectacles - not by bending down to the hem, you understand, but by pulling it up to the...

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Chapter Four

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pp. 25-32

The Fawkes’ garden in Hillside was one of the few gardens without working boreholes that did not look like a desert. That was because Philippa, her friends called her Gay, planted only indigenous things - not just trees, but bushes, shrubs, flowers - even grasses. Their brick under tin house, on an acre stand, had been built round about the turn of the century. They were...

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Chapter Five

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pp. 33-43

Ingeborg Ficker, Bulawayo’s premier artist, was holding a party for friends and fellow artists, at her farm off the Old Gwanda Road. Anybody who was anybody in Matabeleland’s premier city would be there: ex-pat aid workers, South African refugees, ex-dissidents, rogue politicians, homosexuals, dope addicts, actors, serial killers, and writers...

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Chapter Six

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pp. 44-49

Elizabeth could not get back to sleep. She had kicked off her blanket and was lying on her back with her arms folded behind her head. Both her parents were snoring. She stared up at the roof of the tent. It might have been the egg inside her bra that kept her awake; it might have been the mild indigestion she felt from having eaten too much relish at supper time - all...

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Chapter Seven

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pp. 50-59

Es war aber allda Maria Magdalena, und die andere Maria, die setzen sich gegen das grab….” The crystalline voice of Peter Pears, the Evangelist, in the closing stages of Bach’s Matthäus Passion. Boland Lipp had the volume turned down, too low for his taste, but he did not want to risk another sherry bottle. He had had to close all the windows and doors in the...

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Chapter Eight

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pp. 60-68

Lunch was being served at last. Doef looked at her watch: it was half-past three. The intense heat of the day was over. Shadows lengthened across the lawn. Her husband had fallen asleep in his deck-chair, snoring like a tractor. No one, and there must have been a hundred guests at the party, was paying the slightest bit of attention to them - not even their host and hostess...

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Chapter Nine

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pp. 69-75

The buck’s fizz had run out but there was enough beer and wine, Ingeborg Ficker boasted, to float a battleship. And they’d made quite a dent in the ox. Ingeborg’s labourers - sorry, guests - stood by with carving knives and long forks, ready to attend to the needs of the revellers, of whom Jealous Umbankwa’s was the greatest. None of your slices for Jealous; he insisted on...

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Chapter Ten

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pp. 76-82

Elizabeth woke to the good smell of bacon sizzling. She was alone in the tent. Both her parents were early risers - even on holiday. She yawned and stretched herself; then she reached for her Bible and found the twenty third psalm. She read it aloud, quietly, to herself. Her early morning voice was a little raspy, but sweet. When she had read it through, she closed her Bible...

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Chapter Eleven

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pp. 83-92

Nobody is denying that there was a strong streak of prurience in Boland Lipp. He indulged in lewd ideas, especially in bed, once he had turned off his reading light. Don’t be surprised, if ever you get the opportunity to look through his bookshelves, when you find there copies of shockers such as The Story of O, The Perfumed Garden, and Fanny Hill, not to mention the...

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Chapter Twelve

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pp. 93-101

Anybody who was (or was about to become) anybody in Bulawayo and surrounding districts was present at the Old Year’s Night party thrown by the desirable Cocks. They were very proud of their home in the Eastern Suburbs, which they’d bought in the early eighties for seven thousand dollars and which was now insured for half a million dollars. True, they’d upgraded the...

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Chapter Thirteen

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pp. 102-110

The Fawkes family were surprised to find several policemen and women waiting for them when they got home. “We’ve been burgled,” was Philippa’s initial response. They had been burgled: by their domestic worker, Mrs Amazambane, who had helped herself to five fowls - two grey and three black Australorps - a pink dress belonging to ‘the madam’, three boxes of...

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Chapter Fourteen

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pp. 111-126

January 19 arrived with overcast skies threatening rain. Just what Bulawayo needed if the city was going to survive until the next season. The water from the taps was beginning to taste like mud, with a suggestion of barbel. Because of stringent rationing, not enough water was running through the sewers and they were regularly becoming blocked, not only by paper and...

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780797443372
Print-ISBN-13: 9780797430396

Page Count: 136
Publication Year: 2008

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