“Shameful secrets and inescapable familial bonds form the basis of this absorbing tale, while a society in violent transition creates the backdrop to Meersman’s highly accomplished sequel to 2011’s critically acclaimed Reports Before Daybreak … But this is not just another angst-ridden apartheid novel. It is intelligent and brave, canny and humane …
Meersman is at pains to steer clear of lurid sensationalism – the novel’s bleaker perspectives are carefully balanced with his morally complex portraits of his five flawed protagonists …
The novel has a clever structure with an artful use of juxtaposition …
If this novel has a pivotal message, it is that while apartheid attempted to enforce a stark black and white categorisation of our nation’s populace, when it comes to issues of ethics and morality, all of us remain very much heaped together in a foggy, grey purgatory. And it is a tricky place to negotiate – in any era.”
– Kayang Gagiano, Cape Times, 13 December 2013.
“emotionally charged, gritty and unputdownable novel … This skilfully plotted book is a joy to read – even if it sends chills down one’s spine”
– Robyn Cohen, The Cape Argus, 12 August 2013.
“a novel for those who love history … It combines the gravitas of fact with the emotional truth of fiction and poetry …Meersman’s great gift is to create a vivid set of characters, including the minor players … He does this through dialogue and excellently observed variations in South African speech but also through domestic settings … There’s an element of satire in all of this … It’s a compelling mix of life as it is and was in South Africa, and strangely familiar.”
– Jane Rosenthal – Mail & Guardian, 29 November 2013.
“By the time you realise (and Meersman doesn’t ask you to hold your breath for too long) just how closely the lives of Meersman’s characters are woven, you won’t be able to put this book down.”
– Simbonile Mkwambi, Hy sê sy sê, 5 September 2013.
“Meersman draws a compelling portrait of those extraordinary times and shows the often unexpected impact they had on individual lives struggling to make sense of seismic change. It is a struggle that continues to this day.”
Margaret von Klemperer, The Witness, 15 October 2013.
“Meersman captures well the chaotic atmosphere of those years [1990-1994] – simultaneously joyful and terrifying. His use of newspaper headlines from the period is particularly effective … Meersman does have an exceptional ability with a single sentence out of the blue to rattle the reader.”
Lousie Ferreira, Die Burger / Beeld, 30 September 2013.Interview on
Aerodrome: In this preview interview, Brent Meersman talks about his last two novels and their experimental form; the “lack of ambition” in South African literature; “apartheid” in the publishing industry; on writing black characters; the “invisibility of black women”; on black readership; on the death of the novel.
Read the full interview: