Diane Awerbuck reviews A Hibiscus Coast by Nick Mulgrew for the Sunday Times

Longing and the Promised Land

But A Hibiscus Coast is not all satire. Mulgrew is a sensitive man, and he invokes and then banishes the wishes, regrets, dreams and frustrations that plague us. How difficult it is to write powerfully and meaningfully about feelings; our personal revelations are mostly boring to others. But Mulgrew’s technique is persuasive, at once chattily vernacular and then so lyrical he could name new palettes for Plascon.

This self-interrupting search is linked to his favourite theme, and one which he explores to its fullest in A Hibiscus Coast: the human responsibility to know ourselves in order to know others, and our obligation to tell the truth. We must face our old selves or be consigned to further continental drift.

Sunday Times

EB Cavendish: Launch of Death and the After Parties by Joanne Hichens

Should you wish to attend the event, be sure to pop an email through to events@exclusivebooks.co.za alternatively send Exclusive Books a DM on Instagram, Facebook or call the store at 0216743030.

Exclusive Books is committed to hosting responsible events and observes strict Covid-19 health protocols, this includes but is not limited to:
– ensuring customers and event goers are wearing their masks at all times;
– event seating is spaced for social distancing.

‘Death and the After Parties’
Thursday 27/05/2021
@ 18h00
RSVP: events@exclusivebooks.co.za

‘Book of the Week’ at The Book Lounge (15% discount until 19 May): A HIBISCUS COAST by NICK MULGREW

A Hibiscus Coast retails for R290, but purchase the book at The Book Lounge before Wednesday 19th of May and receive a 15% discount – pay only R246.50! The Book Lounge is also offering free delivery on this, within 20km of the shop.

Click on the above image to purchase A Hibiscus Coast through their online store, or request an invoice (booklounge@gmail.com) for EFT. Please include your delivery address and contact number if you would prefer delivery.

You can even get a ‘signed’ copy. Nick signed and sent us a few signature stickers from Edinburgh. Get them while stock lasts …

The Book Lounge Staff Recommendation
 
It takes so much skill to write a novel like
A Hibiscus Coast that deals with so much trauma and grief, whilst still being warm, light-hearted, and at times even hilarious. Nick has woven these two vastly different places – Hibiscus Coast in KZN, and The Hibiscus Coast in New Zealand – together in such interesting ways, with metaphors around land, ownership, and dislocation. This novel does a beautiful job of illustrating how things can be both difficult and full of joy at the same time.
~ Jess

Death and the After Parties by Joanne Hichens: an inter-review by Janet van Eeden

Joanne Hichens has been extraordinarily brave in excoriating her soul in a searing and honest memoir about her attempts to survive the unendurable. In Death and the after parties – one of the best titles I’ve heard in a while, by the way – Joanne doesn’t spare herself as she examines the brutal rites of passage which death inflicts on her life.

The first death she endures is the expected decline of her own mother, who is diagnosed with a terminal illness. While this is a difficult and heart-rending experience, she is able to process it fairly well, as the months leading up to her mother’s death are preparation for the inevitable. By the end of this process, Joanne believes she “can do death”.

Fate has other plans for her, however. The mind-numbing shock of her husband’s heart attack and almost instantaneous death destroys the very fabric of her known world. She finds herself reeling with denial, guilt, despair and total devastation as her reality is ripped asunder. Her husband, Robert, a powerful personality and energy who filled up the space in her life as well as his children’s, is gone in a matter of hours. The loss is so enormous that Joanne cannot regain her equilibrium. Unflinchingly, she describes her descent into the deep depression experienced only by the truly heartbroken …

Continue reading: An inter-review for LitNet by Janet van Eeden

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, real and fictional

My mother’s garments 
never seemed to grow old.
Slack suits and twin sets
from the seventies,
woven from some synthetic
substance that did not wear
or tear, unlike the natural fibre
of her skin. My aged mother’s
delicate covering bled
every time she stumbled.
Worn out; worn to shreds.

— "Going home", Disturbance, Dawn Garisch


It has just gone six a.m. I walk my son down the road to the corner where we wait for his lift. The sun is rising, the light streaking the horizon gold. I comment on the morning buzz, the company we keep, power-walkers, the dog walkers, workers and school kids heading for the train. ‘The day carries on.’
Without you, the day must carry on.
Al says, ‘Of course, but let me remind you that you’re wearing pyjamas.’

— Death and the After Parties, Joanne Hichens


They fled with nothing, never stopping. Not even when his mother tripped, his sister, tied to her back, knocking her head so hard that a bump rose immediately. She had been crying, now she screamed. Yet still they ran, amid their own blood and spittle, as the black cloud of the burning valley hunted them, chasing them forward, forward, towards the blue sky.

— An Island, Karen Jennings


Now Shirley, you know, became a mother quite young – sixteen or something like that. She ran away from home with newborn Jason; his naeltjie at his belly hadn’t even fallen off yet. Came to Cape Town where she thought no one would find her. The Northern Cape was far.

— "Homeful", Let It Fall Where It Will, Lester Walbrugh


Lexi shrugged off her coat. She heard the rustle of beads as her mother, Sandra, came through the hippie curtain from the kitchen at the end of the long hallway. Like the town was bisected by a highway, so was their house by the passage.
‘I thought you would be asleep by now.’ Lexi feigned surprise.
‘I waited up. You’re my responsibility now.’ Her mother was in a kaftan, her hair long and loose. She looked like she’d escaped from the Mamas and the Papas.
‘Yay.’ The joys of being dumped and fleeced by her husband never ceased.

— A Fractured Land, Melissa A. Volker


I still remember my mother’s words when we got in the car to go to mass. ‘It’s Christmas, Mary, not a funeral.’ But I’ve always worn black. I would have said she was tempting providence, if that wasn’t exactly the sort of thing she would say. I should have, though. When we got home, a bunch of armed response cars were blocking the gates to the complex. The police were there. Men in bulletproof vests. Guns.

— A Hibiscus Coast, Nick Mulgrew


Not a word was exchanged between us as my mother and I made our way home. She must have seen how disappointed I was for, as soon as we walked into the house, she turned to me, demanding – ‘Where is the form?’
Puzzled, I looked at her. What use was that form now? What would she do with it? Only my father could sign it; and he had flatly refused, hadn’t he?
‘Give me the form, Thembi.’
‘Why, Mama?’
‘Letha, bo!’
My mother forged Baba’s signature.
I applied for a passport, astounded by my mother’s actions. She had shown me a side of her I didn’t suspect existed.

— Theatre Road, Sindiwe Magona


The lagoon has
forgotten us
like a son
sometimes
forgets his father

but never his mother

— "Port is red and starboard green", For Everything That Is Pointless and Perfect, Stephen Symons


But tell me this: where is his irrepressible, eternal soul? Because that is what interests me more. Where is his spirit, free of the gritty, grey residue of his body, which I have felt with my own hands? Because I, with the five senses of a woman, and undeniable sixth one 16 of a mother, cannot fathom the dimension within which my child now exists.

— "Lost", Earth to Mom, Sue Brown

SALE: 4 for R550, including delivery

Order any four of the ten published Karavan Press books and pay ONLY R550, including delivery.

For book details, click here: KARAVAN PRESS BOOKS

To order, please send your list of the four titles and your delivery address to karavanpress@outlook.com, and we will send you an invoice for an EFT.

Delivery options:

Cape Town: next working day after payment reflects in our account, to your door within 20km of Rondebosch Common.

Rest of South Africa: within a few working days after payment reflects in our account, to your nearest Postnet office.

Contact us for other delivery arrangements, if required.

OFFER VALID UNTIL 14 MAY!

Sunday Times/CNA Literary Awards 2021 longlists announced!

We are thrilled to share the news that the Sunday Times/CNA Literary Awards 2021 longlists have been announced and two Karavan Press books are among the longlisted titles:

FICTION PRIZE 

This is the 20th year of the fiction prize. The criteria stipulate that the winning novel should be one of “rare imagination and style … a tale so compelling as to become an enduring landmark of contemporary fiction”.

THE JUDGES

KEN BARRIS – CHAIR

Barris is a writer, editor and former academic. His fiction has been translated into German, Danish and Turkish, and he has won various literary awards for novels, short stories and poetry. These include the Ingrid Jonker Prize, the M-Net Book Prize, the Thomas Pringle Award, the University of Johannesburg Prize and the Herman Charles Bosman Prize.

NANCY RICHARDS

Richards is an independent journalist with experience in radio and print. Founder of NPO: Woman Zone and the Women’s Library at Artscape, she’s author of Beautiful Homes and co-author of Woman Today: 50 Years of South African Women on Radio and Being a Woman in Cape Town. She is a speaker, media trainer and podcasts under Woman Zone Stories and Books Stories People on pointview.fm.

WAMUWI MBAO

Mbao is a writer and essayist. He reviews fiction for the Johannesburg Review of Books and teaches South African literature at Stellenbosch University. His short story “The Bath” was listed as one of the 20 best stories of SA’s democracy, and he has compiled and edited the poetry collection Years of Fire and Ash: South African Poems of Decolonisation.

NON-FICTION 

The award will be bestowed on a book that presents “the illumination of truthfulness, especially those forms of it that are new, delicate, unfashionable and fly in the face of power”, and that demonstrates “compassion, elegance of writing, and intellectual and moral integrity”.

THE JUDGES

GRIFFIN SHEA – CHAIR

Shea is the founder of Bridge Books, an independent bookstore in downtown Johannesburg, and the author of a young adult novel, The Golden Rhino. Bridge Books focuses on African literature, and on finding new ways of getting books to readers. The store’s non-profit African Book Trust is the lead partner in the Literary District project, a collaboration among booksellers, city agencies, businesses and other volunteers. Before opening Bridge Books, Griffin worked as a journalist for 15 years, mostly with the international news agency Agence France-Press (AFP).

NOMAVENDA MATHIANE

Mathiane has been a journalist for more than 35 years. Her writing career began in 1975 as a reporter at The World newspaper, and she later joined Frontline magazine where she specialised in writing about life in South African townships. Since then she has worked for most of SA’s major newspapers. She has written three books: Beyond the HeadlinesSouth Africa: Diary of Troubled Times, and Eyes in the Night: An Untold Zulu Story. She currently teaches isiZulu at a private primary school.

BONGANI NGQULUNGA

Ngqulunga is director of the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Johannesburg. He is the author of The Man Who Founded the ANC: A Biography of Pixley ka Isaka Seme, which won multiple awards, including the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award for non-fiction in 2018. Ngqulunga was educated at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and at Brown University in the US, where he obtained a doctoral degree.

Sunday Times/CNA Literary Awards 2021 longlists

FOR EVERYTHING THAT IS POINTLESS AND PERFECT by Stephen Symons launched at Wordsworth Books Gardens

A magical evening! Earlier today, we launched FOR EVERYTHING THAT IS POINTLESS AND PERFECT by Stephen Symons at Wordsworth Books Gardens. Real bookshop, real people, live poetry reading! Stephen was in conversation with author Paul Morris and read from his stunning poetry collection as well as yet unpublished poems, which will feature in his forthcoming book … Watch this space!

Our gratitude to the booksellers of Wordsworth Books Gardens for their dedication and support. Thank you, Stephen and Paul – it was wonderful to listen to you talk about poetry and its magic. And thank you to all who attended the event. It was so good to interact with readers in real life again! Thank you.