Coconut by Kopano Matlwa

Title: Coconut
Author: Kopano Matlwa
Genre: Fiction

Rating: 3 / 5

Goodreads | Powell’s


At the very end of this book, Kopano Matlwa writes, “I do not know how to make it pretty. I do not know how to mask it. It is not a piece of literary genius. […] It is overdone and definitely not newsworthy. But it is the story we have to tell.”

I agree that the writing is generally not captivating, although at times it is very poetic. I ran into some frustrations with the style, especially in the first half–so much so that I almost stopped reading it. But the first few pages of the second half really grabbed me and I’m glad I stuck with it, because the two parts really work well together. I also agree that this is a story that needs to be told; it is primarily a story of identity and colonialism, specifically black identity in present day South Africa, and it was this aspect of the book that found the most interesting and thought-provoking. At times the writing is very blunt but I definitely appreciate the importance of what she is saying.


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