By Fiona Melrose
Set during a single day in Johannesburg - the day of Nelson Mandela's death - Melrose's second novel is a hymn to an extraordinary city and its people, an ambitious homage to Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway, and a devastating personal and political manifesto on love.
6 December 2013. Johannesburg.
Gin has returned home from New York to throw a party for her mother's eightieth birthday; a few blocks away, at the Residence, Nelson Mandela's family prepares to announce Tata's death...
So begins Johannesburg, Fiona Melrose's searing second novel.
An irascible mother, an anxious daughter trying to negotiate her birthplace and her past, her former lover, their domestic workers, a homeless hunchback fighting for justice, a mining magnate, a troubled novelist called Virginia - these are the characters who give voice to the city on a day hot with nerves and tension and history.
Set across the course of a single day, responsive to Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway, Johannesburg is a profound hymn to an extraordinary city, and a devastating personal and political manifesto on love.
Fiona Melrose was born in Johannesburg but has spent the majority of her adult life in the UK, first in London and then in East Anglia. Previously Fiona has worked in academia, NGO's, public affairs and as an emerging markets analyst. She continues to keep a foot in both continents and is currently spending the majority of her time back in South Africa.
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- Publication date:
03 Aug 2017
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With Johannesburg, Melrose enters a widely travelled literary territory and makes it her own. It is a fine novel and Melrose is fast on her way to establishing herself as one of the most fascinating, versatile novelists of our time and place. — Cape Times