Of 3:15 AM and other stories

3:15 AM And Other Stories is a debut anthology written by Rudo D M Manyere. The book was first published August 2022 by Carnelian Heart Publishing. It got nominated for the 2022 National Arts Merit Awards Zimbabwe.

3:15 AM and other stories

3:15 AM and other stories by Rudo D M Manyere

3:15 AM and other stories is collection of 9 stories, mostly set in Zimbabwe, in a time period ranging from the colonial era through to post independent Zimbabwe. The stories come in different shapes and size exploring  love, loss, betrayal and everything in between. The book begun as a blog and the stories Rudo wrote when she was 23.

The Good

Rudo’s writing style is simple and easy paced that you keep turning the pages, saying I will read just one more story and before you know it, you have reached the last page.

While it might not have happened as a conscious decision, the collection serves as a work of historical fiction that doubles as a contextual social commentary on Zimbabwe. In 9 short stories you time travel through Zimbabwe’s history and for a heartbeat experience moments in time. You are left with a sense of nostalgia of the good old days, even amidst the drama that would be unfolding.

One of the stories, is a tale of star-crossed lovers set during a delicate chapter in Zimbabwe’s history. A chapter which over 35 years  later still remains mostly untold and unhealed Gukurahundi. Which was a state-sanctioned systemic massacre of the Ndebele tribe. The only other book I read which was centered in this era was House Of Stone by Novuyo Tshuma.

As a fan of fantasy, two stories stood out, one is a thriller sort of ghost story and the other is about a tsikamutanda i.e. traditional witch hunter, a bit of a dip into the pool of Shona Mythology and Spirituality, which is another part of our ancestry that we got cowed into being silent about….

The Bad

You only get to read the titular story 3:15 AM as the second from last story (that is if you read in chronological order of the stories like a normal person)

You could say its saving the best for last 😂

The Ugly

That they end!

All stories end, in a book of short stories you will run into a lot of endings… The endings of ALL the stories in 3:15 AM and other stories have a certain abruptness that leaves you reeling with inertia.

The stories are not fairytales, they are not neatly wrapped up into a happy ever after, the end… No, they will haunt you long after you put the book down. When you finish this book you will need a support club to unpack how the author was relentless in not letting anyone catch a break, well, except once, but even then….

Final Thoughts

I loved the rollercoaster ride of different genres and styles and how it all fused with an overarching theme of love; love lost, love denied, love deferred and love found.

Shout to Bhala Writers for delivering the hard copy version and to the Harare Book Club whose February read was 3:15 AM and other stories… (I read and finished the book on the eve of the book club meeting, otherwise it might have stewed for a bit longer on my TBR😅)

Rudo Manyere who is a part of said Book Club, did a “live” reading of 3:15 AM and shared about her writing and answered a few questions about her book. One takeaway I got was that she wrote the stories in what she described as her Shonda Rhimes inspired era, where no character was untouchable and anyone could be killed off… for a book with short stories there is a lot of death between in its pages….




  1. I’m going to show my ignorance here, so be merciful 🙂

    You mention this starts with the colonial period. Is that because Zimbabwe wasn’t a country before that? Just wondering what came before colonialism….

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Zimbabwe and Zambia are super related, and not just because they were once part of the same confederate or shared the same name Rhodesia or that they share a border with the Victoria Falls or the Nyami Nyami legend…


        Liked by 1 person

      2. PS…. its also very very possible due to the migratory nature of our forefathers to find solid relations particularly in nearby countries…
        I can easily picture someone travelling across a river one summer or winter to find greener pastures and never being able to go back because there’s now Protectorates and declarations of Crown Sovereignty…
        Just like the legend of the Nyami Nyami which travelled up stream and when it returned the Kariba Dam Wall was there preventing it from returning to its family…..
        Maybe that legend isnt just about some mythical creature, but a secret message to remind us that one day we will need to breakdown these barriers.


        Liked by 1 person

    1. First of all valar dohaeris because that phrase has been stuck in my since I “forgot” to add Valar morghulis while describing the author’s character slaughter…. So, yes i’ll be merciful (makes a rambling sort of sense in my head)

      Next where to begin…. in the precolonial era, the borders we have now didnt exist, not just in Zimbabwe but Africa as a whole. People were more migratory, they would settle for seasons or cycles and move according to need or want. “Kingdoms” if you will call them that where not confined to a place but encompassed the people… so when an area no longer served (war, famine) they simply moved elsewhere… yet the kingdom remained….

      The concept of countries came with the colonialists.

      During the colonial period, the settlers set up the more permanent sort of boundaries to protect their interests for “King and Crown”. That also brought with it missionaries, religion, education and neatly erasing anything that came before. .You know how nothing is real unless its written down.. well we, had a more oral tradition based culture and a lot of that never made the history books…

      Its also like “they” went out of their way to erase any semblance of order or civilisation from before the 1900s… yet on the ground you will find there’s places like the ancient ruins of Great Zimbabwe which date to the 11th century and there’s many other similar structures but not on the level of that one….

      yeah its complicated 😅

      Of My Ancestry And The Heritage In My Roots


      Liked by 2 people

      1. You are welcome and thank you, trying to answer your question made me realise how hazy our history looks as well 😂

        I have added a note-to-self to research a bit more and do a write-up with some historical timelines for context.


        Liked by 1 person

  2. Please write more reviews, you have a wonderful, engaging style. I don’t read too many short story collections but your review makes this sound like an excellent read. I can see why it’s perfect for a bookclub discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Claire!!! Appreciate the support.
      I like to think that I write the sort of review that lets someone make up their own mind, like I am not trying to convince you (well maybe a little bit hahaha) but I am mostly sharing my experience of a body of work and leaving you to get your own conclusion…
      thanks again

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I go back and forth on collections of stories that are of different genres. I like that there’s something there for everyone, but if I don’t like a specific type of stories, then I feel like I must pay for an entire book while I only really get to enjoy x% of it. Sounds like this one was pretty cool, though. It’s so refreshing when you find a good one.


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