Author: Fiona Melrose
Reviewer: Gail Gilbride
Fiona Melrose’s Johannesburg puts her on the map as one of South Africa’s most captivating novelists.
The story takes place in the colourful city on the day of Nelson Mandela’s death. Gin has arrived from New York to organise her cantankerous mother’s eightieth birthday party. Close by, the Mandela family are about to announce Nelson Mandela’s death. Gin grapples with all that Johannesburg represents for her. Amongst many other things, she needs to juggle the arrival of her ex-boyfriend, the search for the missing dog and the celebration which her mother is resisting.
Melrose writes from the heart and manages to convey her deep, complicated love for both the place and the vibrant characters who work and live in it. Through various eyes; an artist’s to a hunchback with no home, we experience the day of Mandela’s death in a modern city grappling to keep up with the many changes happening around it.
Melrose writes with deep insight and offers us a glimpse of this beautiful but unforgiving place, which represents so much of the country itself.
I was mesmerized from the first page and will watch out for Fiona Melrose’s next masterpiece!
Review by Gail Gilbride, author of Under the African Sun .