How can one not be instantly appalled by the title Send Her Back? I opened the book with trepidation because I knew it would shine a bright light on America's most egregious, and least admitted, issue: bigotry. Not only do these short stories show bigotry toward immigrants, in this case immigrants from Zimbabwe, but they also show bigotry toward women. Such narrow-minded provincialism and misogyny, formed in part by the white, native-born citizen's underlying weak self-confidence and ignorance, is demonstrated in story after story – self-congratulatory white police officers, statements like “all Black women are angry,” being a “diversity hire.”
Munashe Kaseke, who must have experienced many of the situations detailed in the stories, also writes about the struggles faced by immigrants who are expected to send all their money back to their relatives, about Zimbabwean traditionalism which objectifies women as good only for producing babies, about the immigrant's struggle with an unclear identity.
The stories are simply and straightforwardly told, the prose almost raw, quickening the reader's deep emotions. Most of the female characters are strong, and there is an arc to the story sequence which transitions into the women's greater success and independence.
This is an important book which reveals the pernicious behavior and institutional barriers which stain our nation's reputation.
I received an advance copy of this book from Mukana publishers. This is an honest review.