Johannesburg by Fiona Melrose

Johannesburg

Fiona Melrose

Very intriguing and impressive, this pastiche of Woolf's Mrs Dalloway. On the day that the people of Johannesburg say goodbye to the recently deceased Mandela, an artist organises a party and the lives of black and white cross each other to an inexorable dramatic conclusion of the day. A slow burner, but I really admire the bravery of the author.

Extract

The sun was gathering flame. September was tired. He wanted relief. He placed his board in front of him so that its message obscured his face. Above him he heard the familiar voop voop voop of a helicopter. He looked up, straight into the sun. He could hear the blades cutting through the sky, just as they had at the mine on that dark day at Verloren when the police chopper had flown over again and again. It had flown lower and then lower again to scatter their number. But the strike leaders had called out, hold fast, hold fast, they will not scatter us to the wind.

Parallels
  • Absolution by Patrick Flanery
  • The Hours by Michael Cunningham
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

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