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"The Past is Not Always the Past": Read an Excerpt from Things I Thought I Knew by Kathryn White

Emily Green and MeThings I Thought I KnewAnna Peters' Year of Cooking Dangerously

Kathryn White‘s new novel, Anna Peters’ Year of Cooking Dangerously, is a fantastic romantic comedy unlike any other, written after the author’s own love affair with Irish chick lit.

Full of food, sex and interesting men, it tells the story of a year in Anna Peters’ life as she tries to get over a devastating break-up. In a review for the Sunday Times, Jennifer Platt writes: “Food, romance, humour and a bit of mystery: you can’t go wrong, really. Or some can, but Kathryn White doesn’t. Her third novel is on point – it’s sort of like a Marian Keyes set in Joburg.”

All three of White’s novels have been published by Umuzi. Emily Green and Me came first, in 2007, and told the beautiful story of eleven-year-old Emily who received the heart of a seventeen-year-old boy who died in a motor-bike accident. The organ came with an attachment: the boy who had it first is still hanging around.

White’s second book, Things I Thought I Knew, published in 2011, told a different kind of story altogether. It asks the question, what do we ever really know? Living between the past, present and future, Lily is convinced she knows it all. And when she finally meets Adam at university, she’s pretty sure she understand how the situation is going to unfold. But, the the peculiar nature of prescience is that it hasn’t actually happened yet …

Read an excerpt from Things I Thought I Knew for a taste of White’s writing, but be warned – it is nothing like Anna Peters’ Year of Cooking Dangerously (yet is equally unforgettable):


My father was a teacher who kept learning until his spirit dissolved within the lines of his books. My mother was an artist who kept painting until she forgot why she had started. He believed in the
word. She believed in the vision. My sister and I believed in the sky above and the ground below, simple enough.

I was born in apartheid South Africa. I was born in a state hospital, but at the back, through a separate entrance in case I looked different. I did not, and my mother was transferred to a front ward. I was born in 1980. The year Mugabe became president of Zimbabwe, the year JR was ‘shot’ and John Lennon really was. I was born on the 2nd of May – the day the apartheid government banned Pink Floyd’s
‘Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)’ because they thought it would incite black youths to violence.

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