Travelling home: Diasporic dis-locations of space and place in Tendai Huchu's The Maestro, The Magistrate & The Mathematician
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The Maestro, The Magistrate & The Mathematician, a novel by Zimbabwean diasporic writer Tendai Huchu, adds to a growing body of global immigrant fiction. Huchu’s novel concerning Zimbabwean émigrés in the United Kingdom displays a heightened spatial consciousness that self-reflexively complicates the spatial tropes and trends of much migrant literature. The Maestro, The Magistrate & The Mathematician generates an unrelenting dialectic in which the national home, both for migrants and citizens, is often unhomely, while host spaces yield to various forms of place-making and belonging. City space, in this case the city of Edinburgh, is shown through the unique mobilities of the three protagonists to produce different senses of identity. However, the forms of identity that emerge ultimately succumb to the spatial implosion represented by the death (in contained spaces) of two of the principal characters, whose city perambulations are thus brought to a halt. The reader discovers, furthermore, that the third character is not the cartographer of his re-orienting mental map of the host city, but that his itinerary has been directed all along by a sinister, somewhat ubuesque Zimbabwean expatriate, to whom the third character, fooled by this regime spy’s clownish conduct, condescends and mistakenly patronizes.