Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Penguin SA

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Revealed! The Joey Hi-Fi cover for A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg: A City Novel by Harry Kalmer (Plus: Excerpt)

Revealed! The Joey Hi-Fi cover for A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg by Harry Kalmer

 
Penguin Books South Africa has revealed the cover for A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg – Harry Kalmer’s new novel – designed by the legendary Joey Hi-Fi.

A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg is the English translation of the critically acclaimed ‘n Duisend stories oor Johannesburg, which was shortlisted for seven Afrikaans literary awards.

A Thousand Tales of JohannesburgThe book tells the story of a city, its architecture, its history and its diverse communities, from the pre-Johannesburg Highveld of the 1880s to the xenophobia of 2008.

Scroll down for an excerpt!

Kalmer has written 23 plays and six works of fiction, but A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg is his first book in English.
 
 
The author says:

A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg: A City Novel is my first book in English. I wanted it to look special so I asked publisher Fourie Botha to approach Joey Hi-Fi.

The book is set against the backdrop of the xenophobic violence of 2008. However architecture and specifically modernist architecture is central to the book. The postcard-like photo of Commissioner Street in the 1970s features two modernist buildings on the left and on the right, the deco New Library hotel against a Kodachrome blue Highveld sky.

There are so many things I love about this cover. The letters of the title mixing the old and the new. The torn photograph that allows old street maps, pictures and post cards to peak through as if to tell, like the book, the layered, tattered story of a constantly morphing city. Its history from mining camp to European Modernist skyline to the African megapolis it is today.

I chose Joey hoping he would do something as stark, modern and bold as some of his other work. Instead he created a cover that tells its own story before the reading even starts. An additional tale added to the many stories already inside the book.

Joey Hi-Fi describes the design process:

A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg is a moving and intricately interwoven tale about the inhabitants of Johannesburg. It spans more than a hundred years. From the late 1800s all the way through to 2008. The challenge here was to visually capture those stories and the passing of time in an authentic fashion. Something that was true to the characters therein as well as the tone and mood of the novel.

My concept for the cover was sparked by the many references to photographs in the novel. And since photographs are a record of the passing of time, I wondered: What if all the decades spanned in A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg collided in one photograph? And what if that photograph had been torn and worn away to reveal past events? Much like an archaeological excavation, where the deeper you dig the further into the past you go. In a way it is a metaphor for the city itself. The new built upon the old. Scratch beneath the surface and you will unearth some clue to the past.

So I decided to combine typography, illustration and photography in an intricately assembled collage. One photo that incorporated all the decades covered in the novel. I wanted the cover to have a measure of authenticity. To look as much as possible like a photograph of a Johannesburg street scene that has been crumpled, torn and weathered by the passing of time. To do this I redrew old maps of Johannesburg, illustrated and collaged together Johannesburg street scenes (from various decades) and recreated Boer prisoner of war letters. The cover typography is inspired by the lettering found on old maps from the early 1900s. Each element on the cover reflects some event or character in the novel.

Designing this cover was a fascinating deep dive into the rich history of Johannesburg and its people. A history which Harry Kalmer has beautifully captured in A Thousand Tales Of Johannesburg.

About the book

A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg is Harry Kalmer’s spellbinding ode to Johannesburg and its people.

This is the story of Sara, who poses stiffly for a photo with her four children at Turffontein concentration camp in 1901, and of Abraham, who paints the street names on Johannesburg’s kerbs. It is the tale of their grandson Zweig, a young architect who has to leave Johannesburg when he falls in love with the wrong person, and of Marceline, a Congolese mother who flees to the city only to be caught up in a wave of xenophobic violence.

Spanning more than a hundred years, A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg is a novel that documents and probes the lives of the inhabitants of this incomparable African city – the exiled, those returning from exile, and those who never left.

About the author

Harry Kalmer is an award-winning playwright and novelist who has authored six works of fiction and 32 plays. His novel En die lekkerste deel van dood wees was the runner-up in the 2007 Sanlam/Insig Groot Roman competition. Briewe aan ‘n rooi dak, based on the letters of Magdalena Otto, received the Anglo-Gold Aardklop award for best new drama in 2001, and was adapted for television and broadcast. In 2014, his drama The Bram Fischer Waltz won the Adelaide Tambo Award for Human Rights in the Arts. He lives in Johannesburg.

Excerpt from A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg

‘What is it like to be back in Johannesburg?’ Meredith’s voice sounded thin over the phone from Seattle.

‘Odd. It’s very different from when I left.’

‘It’s more than forty years, Dad. Places change, time moves on.’

‘I know but it is totally different. It is like an African city.’

‘It is an African city.’

Zweig did not respond. To speak about the emotions he had felt since his arrival in Johannesburg three
hours earlier would have been too difficult. Instead he asked her about work.

He remained seated on the bed with the phone in his hand after the conversation ended and realised how little he and Serenita had told their daughters about Johannesburg. To them it was merely the place where their parents lived before they moved to London.

Zweig felt like some Bach, but his iPod wasn’t charged. He craved a cigarette for the first time in fifteen years. The white telephone on the white bedside table rang. Cherie asked if he wanted white or red wine with his dinner.

Zweig put on clean clothes. A few minutes later Cherie was at the door with a plate of food, a glass and a carafe of white wine. She placed it on a coffee table. Arabic music was playing somewhere in the hotel. Zweig sat down in one of the chairs and poured a glass of wine. The chicken was tasty. It was the first meat he had eaten in a long time.

When he had finished his meal, he once again picked up the copy of Moby Dick but still found it difficult to read.

He undressed and took a photo of Serenita in a standing frame from his shoulder bag.

‘You won’t believe it, Serenita.’ He smiled at the photo. ‘I’m back in Johannesburg. An old man in his vest and his underpants sitting at the edge of a bed.’

He unfolded the back support strut of the frame and placed it on the table.
Then he climbed in under the duvet and turned off the bedside light.

Related news:

Book details


» read article

Wen een van vyf eksemplare van Christelle van Rooyen-Wessels se debuutroman, Adder

AdderAdder deur Christelle van Rooyen-Wessels is nou beskikbaar by Penguin:

Klara Francke het ’n donker geheim. Sy is vasgekeer in ’n giftige huwelik met die sadistiese Johan. Sy leef in konstante vrees vir haar eie lewe en dié van haar tienerjarige seun. Wanneer Johan die nuwe ingenieur wat by die sonkragaanleg buite die dorp begin werk het vir ’n braai nooi, is daar onmiddellik ’n wedersydse aangetrokkenheid tussen Klara en haar man se kollega.

Terwyl Klara worstel met haar onverklaarbare – en ontoelaatbare – gevoelens, spook speurder Basie Snyman en sy kollega om die moorde op twee jong meisies op te los. Hulle weet hulle werk teen tyd wanneer ’n derde meisie verdwyn. Kort voor lank ontdek die speurders ’n skakel tussen die drie slagoffers: Klara Francke …

Oor die outeur

Christelle van Rooyen-Wessels is op De Aar gebore en is tans die redakteur van een van die oudste gemeenskapskoerante in die land – die Stellalander. Sy woon in Vryburg in Noordwes. In 2004 ontvang sy die Sanlam Gemeenskapsperstoekenning vir Joernalis van die Jaar: Menslike Nuus. Adder is haar debuut.
 


 
Vyf gelukkige lesers kan elkeen ‘n kopie van Adder wen. Om in aanmerking te kom vir die prys, besoek Penguin Random House SA se webtuiste en voltooi die kompetisievorm voor Woensdag, 30 November.

Boekbesonderhede


» read article

Cover revealed for Marita van der Vyver’s new novel to be published early 2017

Marita van der Vyver’s new novel to be published early 2017Marita van der Vyver’s new novel to be published early 2017
Swemlesse vir 'n meerminA Fountain in FranceOlinosters op die dakDie coolste ouma op aardeWinter Food in ProvenceWinterkos in Provence

 
Penguin Random House will be publishing Marita van der Vyver’s 13th novel, You Lost Me, early in 2017 in English and Afrikaans.

The author, who lives in France, will be in South Africa to promote the novel in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria in March and May 2017. Readers will also have the opportunity to see her in Stellenbosch during Woordfees, and at the Franschhoek Literary Festival.

You Lost Me is the story of Willem Prins, a disillusioned South African writer who, after little success, finds himself in Paris to promote an erotic novel he wrote under a pseudonym – to his great embarrassment. It’s here that he meets Jackie, a young South African who works in the city as au pair. The two of them happen to be together on the night that the Paris terror attacks strike.

You Lost Me is contemporary and thrilling; wickedly funny yet poignant. The novel reinforces Van der Vyver’s position as one of the country’s best-loved writers since the publication of her first novel, Entertaining Angels.

 
Related stories:

Photograph by Robert Hamblin for Vrouekeur

Book details


» read article

Don’t miss the launch of Tannie Maria and the Satanic Mechanic by Sally Andrew at Love Books

Invitation to the launch of Tannie Maria and the Satanic Mechanic: A Tannie Maria Mystery

 
Tannie Maria and the Satanic Mechanic: A Tannie Maria MysteryUmuzi and Love Books are delighted to be hosting international success story Sally Andrew for the launch of her new Tannie Maria mystery, Tannie Maria and the Satanic Mechanic: A Tannie Maria Mystery.

The event will take place on Thursday, 1 December, when Andrew will be in conversation with Michele Magwood of the Sunday Times.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 1 December 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: Love Books
    The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre
    53 Rustenburg Road
    Melville
    Johannesburg | Map
  • Guest Speaker: Michele Magwood
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • RSVP: Love Books, kate@lovebooks.co.za, 011 726 7408

 
Related stories:

Book Details


» read article

The wine connection in Mark Winkler’s The Safest Place You Know

The man behind the character: True-life inspiration in Mark Winkler’s The Safest Place You Know

 
The Safest Place You KnowMark Winkler’s third novel, The Safest Place You Know, is set in the 1980s in South Africa. Much of the action takes place on a wine farm in the Cape – a vast estate owned by a wealthy heiress.

Today South Africa’s wine industry enjoys international recognition and is a significant player on the world stage; back then, things were very different. The author discusses the state of the wine industry in South Africa in the 1980s, and considers how things have changed over the past thirty years:

In the 1980s, the South African wine industry focused on selling its product on price rather than quality. International sanctions had begun to have a severe effect on the South African economy, and the result was a surplus of mediocre and unsalable product, referred to as a “wine lake”. Millions of litres were dumped into rivers and dams in the attempt to reduce supply and to push up demand. Only the most visionary of grape farmers, like the fictitious Oliver Maidenstone Basset, had begun to concern themselves with quality. They introduced new technology and innovative, if controversial, techniques, such as the green harvest practised on the Basset estate. Though not immediately profitable at the time, such initiatives would become the norm, raising the international reputation of South African wines.

 
The Safest Place You Know follows a young man who, after his father’s violent death, leaves the family farm in the drought-stricken Free State with no plan, and with no way of knowing that his life will soon be changed for ever by two strangers he encounters on his journey south: a mute 12-year-old girl who bears a striking resemblance to his late niece, and a troubled lawyer who detests the Cape wine estate she’s inherited from her cruel and arrogant father. As they become entwined in each other’s lives and secrets, it becomes clear that the enigmatic little girl will play more of a role in their redemption than anyone suspects.

About the author

An Exceptionally Simple Theory (of Absolutely Everything)WastedMark Winkler is the author of the critically acclaimed novels An Exceptionally Simple Theory (of Absolutely Everything) and Wasted, which was longlisted for the 2016 Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize. His short story “When I Came Home” was shortlisted for the 2016 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and “Ink” was awarded third place in the 2016 Short Story Africa competition.

 
 
 
 
Related stories:

Book details


» read article

Another international book deal signed for The Reactive by Masande Ntshanga

Read ‘Space II’ – a new story by Masande Ntshanga
The ReactiveThe Reactive

 
After much interest in the United Kingdom, publisher Jacaranda Books have acquired the rights to publish Masande Ntshanga’s acclaimed literary novel The Reactive in the UK and across the Commonwealth.

An American edition of the novel was published earlier this year, and German translation rights have also been sold.

The Caine Prize-shortlisted author’s debut novel is a poignant, life-affirming story about secrets, memory, chemical abuse and family, and the redemption that comes from facing what haunts us most.

Contracts were negotiated by Aoife Lennon-Ritchie of the Lennon-Ritchie Agency.

The Reactive was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize and longlisted for the Etisalat Prize for literature.

A recipient of a Fulbright Award, a Mellon Mays Foundation fellowship, and a Civitella Ranieri fellowship, Ntshanga also won the 2013 PEN International New Voices Award.

 
Related stories:

Book details


» read article

A very South African book: Irna van Zyl launches her new crime novel Moordvis at Love Books

Launch of Irna van Zyl's Moordvis/Dead in the Water
Dead in the WaterMoordvis

 
Irna van Zyl launched her new crime novel Moordvis (published simultaneously in English as Dead in the Water) at Love Books in Melville, Johannesburg recently.

Van Zyl was joined onstage by Ruda Landman, former presenter of investigative television programme Carte Blanche.

Rather than just telling a story, Van Zyl says her latest book is also an effort to break prevalent South African stereotypes.

“Some of the heroes are not white,” she said when asked whether white people saw the issue of crime as a black problem.

Van Zyl tied the problem to both races. Her explanation being that while criminals can be black, behind them might be white people.

Launch of Irna van Zyl's Moordvis/Dead in the Water

 
By using Storm van der Merwe as her female protagonist in her book, Van Zyl has broken away from the prevalent crime novel tradition of using males as lead detectives.

But, why a crime novel when we are any bombarded with crime news on daily basis? And why crime as a genre for a writer who has had more experience running media companies and working as editor for some well-known South African media publications? These were some of the questions Van Zyl wrestled with that night.

“Crime reading is a form of escapism,” Van Zyl said.

Launch of Irna van Zyl's Moordvis/Dead in the Water

 
Another topic Van Zyl commented on was the issue of low book sales in South Africa compared to overseas markets, like the United States, for example. While the Afrikaans market reported low sales, “South African English books suffer even more,” said Van Zyl.

Van Zyl, who set the book in a fictitious town of Grootbaai, described the book as “very South African”.

* * * * *

Lungile Sojini (@success_mail) tweeted live from the event:

Book details


» read article

The man behind the character: True-life inspiration in Mark Winkler’s The Safest Place You Know

The man behind the character: True-life inspiration in Mark Winkler’s The Safest Place You Know

 

The Safest Place You KnowMark Winkler’s new novel, The Safest Place You Know, features a character named Victor Pereira, whose life is altered irrevocably after an encounter with the police in apartheid South Africa.

Victor’s astounding story is based on that of an actual person.

Here the author shares the real-life inspiration behind the character:

Twelve or thirteen years ago, I began a conversation with Victor Jansen, a security guard at the advertising agency where I worked at the time. He told me how a vindictive neighbour had years before set the police on him, and how he had been racially reclassified on the spot, going from white to coloured in a matter of minutes, an event that forced him out of his home and his neighbourhood, while his wife and daughter remained “white”. The character of Victor Pereira in this book is an acknowledgement of the cheerfully eccentric Victor Jansen.

Probably the most humiliating, and frankly insane, tool of the apartheid eugenics machine was the “pencil test”. It enabled even the most minor official to reclassify someone by shoving a pencil into the person’s hair. The person would then be required to shake his or her head: if the pencil fell out, they were deemed to be white, and if it remained in the hair, they could, depending on the mood of the examiner, be classified as coloured or black. An added humiliation could take the form of the examination of the victim’s pubic hair.

Rendered in meticulously crafted, lyrical prose, The Safest Place You Know is a powerful story about redemption and recovery, and what it means to carry the past with you. Set in South Africa against the backdrop of a country in flux, this evocative novel showcases Winkler’s stylistic flair.

About the book

After his father’s violent death on a hot November day in the droughtstricken Free State, a young man leaves the derelict family farm with no plan, and with no way of knowing that his life will soon be changed for ever by two strangers he encounters on his journey south: a mute little girl who bears a striking resemblance to his late niece, and a troubled lawyer who detests the Cape wine estate she’s inherited from a father she despised.

The Safest Place You Know is a powerful story, rendered in meticulously crafted, lyrical prose.

About the author

An Exceptionally Simple Theory (of Absolutely Everything)WastedMark Winkler is the author of the critically acclaimed novels An Exceptionally Simple Theory (of Absolutely Everything) and Wasted, which was longlisted for the 2016 Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize. His short story “When I Came Home” was shortlisted for the 2016 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and “Ink” was awarded third place in the 2016 Short Story Africa competition.

 
 
 
 
Related stories:

Book details


» read article

Join Karin Brynard and Mike Nicol for the launch of their new novels at The Book Lounge

Join Karin Brynard and Mike Nicol for the launch of their new novels at The Book Lounge
Agents of the StateOur Fathers

 
Join Penguin Random House for a night of thrilling crime fiction at The Book Lounge, as Agents of the State by Mike Nicol and Our Fathers by Karin Brynard are launched.

The event is happening on Wednesday, 26 October at 5:30 for 6:00 PM.

Brynard and Nicol will be in conversation with Irna van Zyl.

See you there!

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 26 October 2016
  • Time: 5:30 for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: The Book Lounge
    71 Roeland St
    Cape Town | Map
  • Guest Speaker: Irna van Zyl
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • RSVP: The Book Lounge, booklounge@gmail.com, 021 462 2425

Book Details


» read article

Join Mike Nicol for the launch of Agents of the State at Kalk Bay Books

Agents Of The StateDon’t miss the launch of Agents of the State, the new book from Mike Nicol, at Kalk Bay Books.

Nicol will be in conversation with Cape Talk host Pippa Hudson.

See you there!

About the book

Bring in the child tracker. That’s Agent Vicki Kahn’s assignment, her first foreign mission for the State Security Agency. That the child tracker is a top fashion model with connections to the president’s son is an added complication. Especially when Vicki watches as the model’s limp body is wheeled away at Schiphol airport. Then, in Berlin, she finds her contact dead on the kitchen floor, shot in the head. Get out, Vicki’s instincts tell her. Get out now.

Vicki’s lover, PI Fish Pescado, is working another case. Find out who shot my husband, is his brief. The husband: a rebel colonel from the Central African Republic taken down in a spray of bullets on the steps of St George’s Cathedral. As Fish digs he comes up against a local connection: none other than the South African president. Drop the case, he’s warned. Go surfing. And take your girlfriend Vicki Kahn with you before it’s too late. Secrets, conspiracies, vested interests, commie plots. Vicki and Fish are caught in the mix, with only one way out …

 

Event Details

Book Details


» read article