After twenty years of marriage, Rami discovers that her husband has been living a double--or rather, a quintuple--life. Tony, a senior police officer in Maputo, has apparently been supporting four other families for many years. Rami remains calm in the face of her husband's duplicity and plots to make an honest man out of him. After Tony is forced to marry the four other women--as well as an additional lover--according to polygamist custom, the rival lovers join together to declare their voices and demand their rights. In this brilliantly funny and feverishly scathing critique, a major work from Mozambique's first published female novelist, Paulina Chiziane explores her country's traditional culture, its values and hypocrisy, and the subjection of women the world over.
“"In the style that characterises her writing, the novel pulls no punches, and the polemic it constructs is passionate and engaging. The First Wife is alive with intrigue and happenings...It is this sense of strength, of resilience, of passion, and simultaneously of acceptance, of resignation that both excite and irritate that make Niketche such an enjoyable and provocative read." -- Tony Simões da Silva, African Review of Books "... the narrator expreses the suffering of all women, divided between the desire to live and what appears to be an inner death (...) condemned to lose all her battles and to drift in the shadows." -- Geneviève Vilner, Plural-Pluriel "... the theme also allows her to lead the reader to discover a country and its customs, and to create some magnificent depictions of women." -- Olivia Marsaud, Afrik.com "What we have, in Paulina, is the most authentic representation of the problems faced by women in Mozambican society." --Teresa Noronha, Jornal de Notícias”