The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo by Peter Orner
A Novel

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Synopsis

When Mavala Shikongo deserted them, the teachers at the boys' school in Goas weren't surprised. How could they be? She was too beautiful, too powerful, and too mysterious for their tiny, remote, and arid world. They knew only one essential fact about their departed colleague: she was a combat veteran of Namibia's brutal war for independence. When Mavala returns to Goas with a baby son, all are awed by her boldness. The teachers try hard, once again, not to fall in love with her. They fail, immediately and miserably, especially the American volunteer, Larry Kaplanski.
 

About Peter Orner

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Peter Orner is the author of two other books, The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo, and Love and Shame and Love. Some of the stories in Esther Stories first appeared in Atlantic Monthly, Epoch, North American Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Southern Review, among other periodicals. One was reprinted in The Best American Short Stories 2001, and another in The Pushcart Prize XXVI. Orner was born in Chicago and now lives in San Francisco.
 
Published May 1, 2009 by Little, Brown and Company. 337 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Religion & Spirituality, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction
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Unrated Critic Reviews for The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo

Kirkus Reviews

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Both are enigmas: Kaplanski admits his “ineptitude” as a teacher, leading one to wonder why he’s there in the first place, and Mavala never reveals the identity of Tomo’s father.

Apr 24 2006 | Read Full Review of The Second Coming of Mavala S...

The New York Times

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Readers’ Opinions Forum: Book News and Reviews Peter Orner makes the symbolism boldface in his own memorable first novel, which is set at a remote Catholic school in Namibia and based on the author's own year teaching in the veld.

Apr 23 2006 | Read Full Review of The Second Coming of Mavala S...

Huffington Post

It's easily the best book I read this year and I know this for certain because I keep a list of every book I read with comments.

Apr 05 2006 | Read Full Review of The Second Coming of Mavala S...

Bestsellersworld

Mavala Shikongo, is the only single female teacher at the school and all the males tried hard not to fall in love with her but it was not easy.

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Nights and Weekends

So the teachers spend their time telling stories from their past and fantasizing about the school’s two young female residents—Dikeledi, the beautiful wife of an undeserving fellow teacher, and Mavala Shikongo, the school’s greatest mystery.

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Monsters and Critics

At one time Mavala thought maybe things could work out for her at the school with her sister but Antoinette proves too judgmental going so far as to bar Mavala from cooking in the kitchen, apparently sluts don’t need to cook or eat.

May 14 2006 | Read Full Review of The Second Coming of Mavala S...

Project MUSE

In his first novel, The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo, Orner shows how we might see the extraordinary in even the most mundane actions and reminds us that sometimes it takes only a longer, more penetrating glance to see what the rest of the world has walked by unwittingly.

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Chronogram

(A line going around Goas asks, “How do you know Mavala Shikongo’s war stories are true?,” The answer: “Because she never tells any.”) Although a strong, fine thread of narrative following Larry’s fascination with the enigmatic Mavala snakes through the novel, the life force of the book exists i...

May 01 2007 | Read Full Review of The Second Coming of Mavala S...

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Andrew Novak

Andrew Novak 26 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list