The Theory of Flight [Book Review]

November 7, 2018

Today I have a review of a book that has been on my tbr for a few weeks. I haven’t reviewed a local fiction book in a while, so here we go.

Book Details

Title: The Theory of Flight || Author: Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu || Published: August 2018 || Imprint: Penguin || Publicist: Frieda le Roux || Pages: 330


Said to have hatched from a golden egg, Genie spends her childhood playing in a field of sunflowers as her country reawakens after a fierce civil war.

But Genie’s story stretches back much further: it tells of her grandfather, who quenched his wanderlust by walking into the Indian Ocean, and of her father, who spent countless hours building model aeroplanes to catch up with him. It is the tale of her mother, a singer self-styled after Dolly Parton with a dream of travelling to Nashville, and of her grandmother, who did everything in her power to raise her children to have character.

With the lightest of touches, a cast of unforgettable characters, and moments of surreal beauty, The Theory of Flight sketches decades of history in this unnamed Southern African nation. It does not dwell on what has been lost in its war, but on the daily triumphs of its people, the necessity of art, and the power of its visionaries to take flight.

My Thoughts

I was blown away by the writing of this story. Its beautifully written and it amazes me that its Siphiwe’s debut novel. I’d definitely read another book by her.

The story consists a lot of characters, which was a bit confusing for me at the beginning. Which I think is always a challenge for books told in multiple perspective, they could go either way. However, I ended up following who was who around 50 pages in. The story stretches back to the main characters grandparents, parents etc and this works perfectly to build this clear picture at the end. With that, it is not really confusing as to what time in the story you are reading from. 

The author did an amazing job with the characters and how things at the end tie in together, it was perfect.

The story deals with the most difficult topics which are presented in a best way ever i.e. impact of war, parent, adoption, HIV/AIDS etc. Its a jammed packed book. The characters are so relatable especially the main character, I got really attached to her. 

Overall, this was an amazing read, I’d highly recommend recommend it. Its an amazing read.



“There are many ways to be a man.”

“You can never go back home. You can never make the same journey twice.”

“You learn a lot about people by gauging how patient they are.”

Those were my thoughts, if you have read this book, please leave your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Question: Name one debut book you read that you loved?

Thank you Penguin Random House SA for sending me a copy. 

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Until next time, lets keep reading.

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2 responses to “The Theory of Flight [Book Review]”

  1. Sounds like a book that will suck you in completely. And I just love the title. Thank you for writing this review.

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