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Finalists for the 1992-1993 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes : CURRENT INTEREST

September 05, 1993|MARJORIE LEWELLYN MARKS | Marjorie Lewellyn Marks is manager of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes and a contributing author of "Life Guidance Through Literature" (American Library Assn.)

AFRICAN LAUGHTER: Four Visits to Zimbabwe by Doris Lessing (HarperCollins). A passionately written memoir of love and betrayal felt toward the "myth-country" that Africa necessarily became for the novelist, who was exiled as an officially "prohibited immigrant" for 25 years for her opposition to the oppressive white government. The country of her childhood is delicately held in memory and measured against the reality of the finally allowed visits during the last 10 years since Zimbabwe was established. Each visit evokes tenuous hope that waxes and wanes with the realities of politics and racism, most poignantly felt during her last visit in 1992, when she acknowledged that while the belated goodwill of the whites is increasing, that of blacks seems to be diminishing. From a letter she received are these words, "When I think of our dreams at independence I want to cry for Zimbabwe. Oh it is so sad, so sad, don't you think so? . . ." And as the Shona people now say, "The sugar is over." And so, sadly, may be the laughter.

The Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalists and winners are selected in each category by an independent panel of judges. Winners will be announced in the Book Review issue of October 31.

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