Book Review:

A Hibiscus Coast

by Nick Mulgrew

(Karavan Press)

In these turbulent South African times of violence and disquiet, many conversations have turned to emigration. In that context I found A Hibiscus Coast to be an honest, compelling and soothing look at family, migration and dispossession.

The author takes us to Durban North, 1997, where a suburban murder rocks a community, and drives one of its members to act upon a long held emigration strategy.

As in real life, nothing about emigration is simple. The characters are layered with different life events, losses and biases, and so we begin to see the messy, difficult, courageous and conflicted process unfold.

The main character, nineteen year old Mary, has to leave Durban ahead of her parents and is forced to make a new life for herself, within a South African ex-pat community in New Zealand.

Parallel to Mary’s story, we meet…

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