Listen to this wonderful interview that Jonathan Ancer conducted with Melissa A. Volker as part of Amabookabooka’s podcast series: “The Quarantine Chronicles: Melissa A. Volker”
You can read Shadow Flicker on your Kindle: Amazon
“A cow mooed and a dog barked, their voices travelling the still air from a distant hilltop. And the white tail of an airplane left a stripe on the baby-boy blue of the highest sky above.
Then pale rays warmed my back on the deck of the hut, steamed the acrid smoke smell from last night’s fire from my jersey, as I wrote of our own family’s catastrophe. Our own golden, unforgettable little prince, whose bold laughter rang out, whose tears fell and sadness echoed, and whose bravery inspired. Wrote our own tale of a visitation from an extraordinary small person. Of his lessons in great love and its loss, in loyalty and our limitations – and of being irrevocably changed by him.”
Sue Brown’s son died of cancer a few days after his thirteenth birthday, leaving behind a Craig-shaped crater in the lives of those who knew and loved him. Sue chronicled this unfamiliar, tragic landscape of diagnosis and grief in The Twinkling of an Eye: A Mother’s Journey. In Earth to Mom: Personal Essays on Loss & Love, a collection of poignant vignettes written since the publication of her memoir, Sue addresses her son, still the magnetic centre of her family’s world, and tells the story of how they continued reshaping their bonds and finding hope and light beyond the loss of their beloved son and brother.
Publication date: Autumn 2020
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
On New Year’s Eve of 2010, SUE BROWN’s twelve-year-old son, Craig, was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour. In the turmoil of the time, Sue instinctively turned her hand to writing. In 2017, six years after Craig had lost his battle with cancer, she published a memoir, The Twinkling of an Eye: A Mother’s Journey. She lives with her husband and their daughter in Cape Town. The family spends as much time as they can at Craig’s Cabin in Betty’s Bay. Sue continues to find hope and solace in the written word. Her new book, Earth to Mom: Personal Essays on Loss & Love, is a tribute to her son and the indelible mark he left on his family and friends.
12 March 2020: PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED DUE TO CONCERNS ABOUT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19.
Karavan Press author Dawn Garisch will be participating in this year’s Jewish Literary Festival (JLF). The festival is taking place on 15 March 2020 at the Gardens Community Centre in Cape Town, home to the iconic Jacob Gitlin Library, SA Jewish Museum and Cape Town Holocaust Centre.
Dawn’s event will take place at 10am at the venue “ISRAEL ABRAHAMS 2“.
This is the third edition of the bi-annual Jewish Literary Festival, a one-day event for lovers of literature and Jewish life. Between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday, 15 March 2020, readers can engage with more than 70 wordsmiths, poets, journalists, filmmakers and educators over more than 40 sessions. The presenters all have some Jewish connection, are engaged with subjects of Jewish interest or have a way with words and, with multiple sessions running simultaneously throughout the day, the organisers offer genres that cover fiction, sport, food, memoir, politics, journalism, the arts and more – a wide choice to suit all tastes. It is a literary feast of note. Don’t miss it! Tickets sell out quickly, so do not hesitate to book yours here: Quicket.
Novelists Lynton Burger (She Down There), Melissa A. Volker (Shadow Flicker) and environmentalists Colin Bell (The Last Elephants) and Richard Peirce (Orca: The day the Great White sharks disappeared) talk to Robin Adams of World Wide Fund for Nature about telling stories that need to be written about our world.
Saturday morning, 14 March, 10:00-11:30, Fish Hoek Library.
Tracey Farren asks novelists Dawn Garisch (Breaking Milk), Qarnita Loxton (Being Shelley) and Trevor Sacks (Lucky Packet) where their stories come from. Do they arrive fully formed, or do uncontrollable characters dictate what will happen next? How do they write, and when, and why, and can anyone ever fully explain this writing life?
Saturday afternoon, 14 March, 14:00-15:30, Fish Hoek Library.
“To a greater or lesser extent all biographies, auto or otherwise, tell the story of the times as much as that of their subject. In Ms Mtshali-Jones case, her story reflects the anomalies and atrocities of apartheid as well as her own journey through theatre. But to begin at the beginning, young Thembi, born of a childlike ‘makoti’ (new wife) grows up in rural Kwa Zulu-Natal with her grandparents. Her early childhood is simple, honest and filled with old school love and care. Things change though when aged 13 she is put on a bus to join her mother in Durban where her eyes are opened wide – and she sees white people for the first time…”
Continue reading: From domestic worker to diva – a truly South African story
“I should declare an interest. I have a special fondness for the part of South Africa where this novel is set: in and around St Francis Bay on the Indian Ocean side, down the road from J Bay, boasting some of the best waves in the world. And like everyone else I have an interest in trying to save the planet. So I am naturally drawn to a novel that pulls together a beautiful and moody coastline, a handful of lonely, messed-up characters, and a plan to build a wind farm. But, I’ve got to say, Shadow Flicker beguiled me way more than I could have expected. It’s a love story with a noirish edge …”
Read the entire review here: Goodreads
Andy Martin’s is the author of the upcoming Surf, Sweat and Tears: The Epic Life and Mysterious Death of Edward George William Omar Deerhurst.
“I don’t normally read books about surfers, but this is like Truman Capote, with shorts.” — Lee Child
Read this wonderful account of how Pamela Power, author of Miss Conception, Things Unseen and Delilah Now Trending, went on holiday and bumped into Melissa A. Volker, who was launching her latest novel, Shadow Flicker, at a family & friends event on the Kromme River…
My friends are verrrrrry accustomed to getting WhatsApps from me telling them they HAVE to come to this or that book launch. Usually, it’s a launch happening at my home away from home, Love Books in Melville. Occasionally, I will venture to Exclusive Books Rosebank or Hyde Park but that’s as far as I go. I certainly didn’t expect to get an invitation to a launch while I was on holiday, so I was thrilled to discover that writer Melissa A. Volker (Missy) was launching her novel SHADOW FLICKER on the banks of the Kromme River in St. Francis…
Continue reading on Go See Do Gauteng: Shadow Flicker by Melissa A. Volker: A book launch with a difference
I have just completed reading Breaking Milk and I enjoyed it completely. It was a rollercoaster ride in the best way. At first I was less intrigued by the story and more fascinated by the style of writing, it truly is poetic in the analogies that are drawn and the way Dawn describes the surroundings, people and feelings. After a while I became accustomed to the style of writing (still fascinated by it though) and then I was absorbed into the story. But towards the end the most riveting aspect of the book became the understanding and expression of the human condition by the author.
Breaking Milk left me feeling unbroken and light. It reaffirmed my notion that nothing really matters in the bigger scheme of things and that in as much as we consider ourselves significant and often make mountains out of molehills, we are actually quite insignificant in the universe, which is reflected by the ejaculate of the Milky Way over the moon on the book cover and as described in the text. The vocabulary used is really excellent and I needed to consult a dictionary from time to time which I didn’t because I was enjoying the book so much and I could make sense of the words in the context of the sentences. I also particularly like the absence of quotation marks because it allowed everything to flow so well. I really enjoyed how the text broke away from the story by working in philosophies and theories during a portion of the written work where Kate has a conversation with her goats.
I must admit that I was waiting for something raunchy to happen and the writing didn’t disappoint, even if the performance by one character wasn’t exactly up to par. Once again, the way it was captured was mesmerising.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book along with the journey and emotions it led me on and to.
Thank you to Earl Nicholas Petersen for sending this wonderful review.
27 February 2020, 18:00-20:30
Karavan Press authors Melissa A. Volker and Dawn Garisch will talk to John Maytham of CapeTalk about the divisions and connections between humans, animals and the environment in the Rosebank home of writer, editor and publisher Karina Magdalena Szczurek.
Dawn’s latest novel is the evocative meditation Breaking Milk, and Melissa’s are eco-romance thrillers Shadow Flicker and A Fractured Land. As a writer, medical doctor and founder of the Life Righting Collective, in her writing, Dawn explores the fascinating relationship between art and science. As a writer, blogger, environmentalist and SUP surfer, Melissa includes environmental themes in her stories to increase awareness about such topics as fracking and renewable energy in a palatable way that will not make readers feel disheartened. Both write about independent women and their relationships with the land in their home country, South Africa.
To book tickets, click here: WOMEN IN A FRACTURED WORLD: MELISSA A. VOLKER AND DAWN GARISCH IN CONVERSATION WITH JOHN MAYTHAM
I fell into Kate’s voice, wise with middle-age, cuttingly honest, panic-stricken. The elegance of the prose seduced me away from my secular life into a full day with an ex-scientist who has taken up cheese making in the country. As I hung out with Kate during a critical day in her life I felt her rage against man’s abuse of nature; her denial, her screaming anxiety about her baby grandchildren. I felt her hand in the vat as she breaks the milk over and over, refusing to admit that she is a nervous wreck.
‘Don’t come!’ Her daughter has said, beseeching Kate to keep her distance when she should want her mother close. This day is the day when her daughter’s conjoined twins are being separated at the brain by a surgeon’s knife.
Breaking Milk is a book about the things that should be separated to survive and that which should never be split. It’s about convictions and opinions and how human interaction can derail them in an instant. As hard as Kate tries to cling to her principles, real life arrives and knocks her off her cerebral center again and again. The ambushes are fantastic, building pressure in ways I would never have guessed. These interactions are preposterous, often hilarious but you feel the twist of the knife at the same time. Kate’s flashes of instinct screw with her logic until, I can tell you now, things get hot. Anatomical, you might say, in a non-medical sense. As Kate struggles to steer her cognition I felt my own thoughts breaking up and reforming in a different shape. ‘Don’t be surprised if you surprise yourself’, the book seems to be saying. It’s hard to explain. Read it, you’ll see what I mean.
Review first posted on the GBAS FB page.