Nervous Conditions has mostly received positive reviews, making it a prominent African and Zimbabwean literary work. The Africa Book Club recommends Nervous Conditions, claiming Dangarembga’s work to be, "a thought-provoking novel that packs a huge number of complicated ideas into a simple and engaging story." Nervous Conditions was awarded the Commonwealth Writers' Prize in 1989, and has since been translated into a number of languages. It has been praised both within and outside of Africa as a prominent contribution and advocate of African feminism and post-colonialism. The novel has been described as an "absorbing page-turner" by The Bloomsbury Review, "another example of a bold new national literature" by the African Times and "a unique and valuable book" by Booklist. Finally, Pauline Uwakweh describes how Nervous Conditions emphasizes that "[Racial and colonial problems are explored] as parallel themes to patriarchal dominance because both are doubtless interrelated forms of dominance over a subordinate social group. Dangarembga has, indeed, demonstrated a keen knowledge of the problems of her Rhodesian society in particular, and Africa in general. Her vision as a writer stresses that awareness and courage are the blueprint to exploding its contradictions." Overall, Nervous Conditions is recognized as a major literary contribution to African feminism and postcolonial literature.
In May, 2018, the BBC named "Nervous Conditions" as one of the top 100 books that have shaped the world. The novel was the 66th book on the list.