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 peoples, 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 Mandela's death...
So begins Johannesburg, Fiona Melrose's searing second novel. Responsive to Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway, the story follows a polyphonic course across a single day, culminating in a party and traces the fractures and connections of the city.
An irascible mother, a daughter trying to negotiate her birthplace and the people from her past, a homeless hunchback who takes his fight for justice to the doors of a mining company, a mining magnate, a man still haunted by his first love, the domestic workers who serve this cast and populate the neighbourhood, 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.
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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