Rating: 5/5 🐨
Each of the stories spoke to me in a different way. Lester is a talented writer with great range.
I’ll give some responses to my favourite stories from the collection:
For Better or Wors: Listen. THIS WAS MY FAVOURITE STORY IN THE WHOLE COLLECTION. You clever, clever story writer Lester. Brilliant. I honestly want to say please can everyone start with this excellent story first before reading any other one in the collection?
Hairs and Graces: a story about the privileging of hair texture, and how falling in and out of love with one’s natural beauty.
In Skuins Street, Pisces Village, Hawston: a love story with a twist. This was executed beautifully and showed how lovers are linked.
The Epic is for Everyone: a story about how the real bad guy never gets caught and how it’s always the small fry that takes the heat in all things organised crime. This story really had me fuming, but it’s such an honest depiction of what happens in real life.
Homeful: It was a story of three homeless people tasked with taking a flash stick from an empty luxury home – but they stayed over for a few days instead of an in and out job. In the process, they look back on their past lives, and how they got to be in this current situation. It explored issues of colourism, relationship building and chosen families.
The Colours Are Too Bright: this story is about a strained relationship between a mother and son, and how a person relates to their parents once they have left home. It was an incredibly sad story, and so well written, with a gentle blow at the end that you don’t expect at all. I loved this especially because it makes you re-read the story and pick up the hints along the way that you may not have seen initially.
✨Overall this was an excellent collection and I can’t wait to read more of Lester’s work. Thank you to Karavan Press for this reviewer copy and to Lester, for sharing your art with the world.✨
“We don’t need to wait for people from other countries to tell us which African author is worth reading,” she said. “No one would wait for a Zimbabwean writer to decide who is the best Irish writer.”New Frame
“I do like Samuel, because he is incredibly human. He is an ordinary man. He has made mistakes; terrible ones. But he is a man trying to find a place for himself in the world, just as we all are. No one is all good or all bad. We are all only trying as best we can to make a home for ourselves in which we feel safe and where we feel we belong. But, of course, this is not determined by ourselves alone. The past plays a role in our identity, as do our economic, social, cultural, political circumstances. All of these things have an influence on us, whether we like to admit it or not.”JRB
Earlier today, I met with Lester at Liberty Books and Peregrine Farmstall in Grabouw to discuss the publication of his debut novel. We plan to release it in early 2022. The novel is a stunningly written, chilling page-turner set in the Grabouw area. It explores the lethal consequences of shame and silence. A book that will have you reeling long after the last page is turned.
“… A lighthouse keeper in self-imposed exile on a tiny island off the mainland, 70-year-old Samuel is disciplined in his daily habits and unchanging in his means of self-sufficiency. He carefully tends his vegetable patch, his only companions a clutch of chickens, with the favourite – an old, vulnerable, red hen – kept away from the vicious larger group. The ultimate fate of the hen and its part in the book’s sudden and violent conclusion lies in the future, but it’s clear that all is not serene on this island …”Guardian